Assume we have a planet with shallow oceans. A fast-growing coral (or any organism with calcium carbonate skeletons) fills the oceans from the bottom up, layer by layer. As the biomass of the coral grows, the ocean is slowly consumed, until at last, the coral skeletons have enveloped the entire ocean. The intense pressure of the skeletons above the lower skeletons causes the bottom of this coral mass to form limestone. Slowly, the upper layers are eroded away into coral sand.
Large plateaus, formed from what used to be the continents, rise a modest 100m or so above the desert. The increasing concentration of the ocean causes it to turn acidic, to the point it drains into the limestone and forms widespread and enormous aquifers. Soon, the world turns into a desert planet, like Arrakis or Tatooine. The ocean basins are filled with whitish sand, mixed with volcanic ash from hotspots.
- Would such a world even be possible? i.e. are there biological restraints I haven't thought about?
- What interesting scenarios could arise from such a world?
- Could anyone explain how one could have shallower oceans so the corals consume them faster?
Notes for clarification
In the beginning, the coral is chemosynthetic. In the middle regions of the ocean, the corals feed on small crustaceans. At the top, the corals evolve photosynthesis.
The corals grow in films, which stack on top of each other.
The corals were introduced during a bio-weapons test.
As the ocean gets shallower, eventually most of it evaporates.
At the top, a layer of sandstone is formed by grains of coral skeleton-type things.