Late Quaternary structure and development of the northern Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Collins, L. B., Zhu, Z. R., Wywoll, K. H. and Eisenhauer, Anton (2003) Late Quaternary structure and development of the northern Ningaloo Reef, Australia Sedimentary Geology, 159 (1-2). pp. 81-94. DOI 10.1016/S0037-0738(03)00096-4.

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Ningaloo Reef, situated on the central west coast, is Australia's largest fringing reef system extending southward from 22°S for over 200 km. Its narrow lagoon is backed by a coastal plain, which is largely composed of an emergent Last Interglacial reef on the flank of folded Tertiary limestones. The west-facing reef is exposed to strong oceanic swells across a narrow (8 km) continental shelf. Climatic aridity, cyclones, tsunamis, and the poleward flowing Leeuwin Current all influence the reef system. Seismic profiling and a coring and dating program along a transect through a reef pass indicate two periods of reef development in the northern part of the reef: Holocene and Last Interglacial. Seaward of the crest, the Holocene reef forms either a prominent 500 m-wide bulge with 10 m of relief and an abrupt seaward slope, or a series of discrete patch reefs. Holocene reef development is limited to depths of less than 30 m and reaches a maximum thickness of ca. 10–15 m below the reef crest. U/Th TIMS dates from distal parts of the Last Interglacial section between −18 and −36 m give ages toward the end of the high stand (120–115 ka). Last Interglacial reef growth was more extensive of the two, filling much of the available accommodation space, perhaps as a result of a stronger Leeuwin Current. This substrate subsequently provided an antecedent foundation for Holocene reef development.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Coral reefs; U-series dating; Seismic structure; northern Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0037-0738(03)00096-4
ISSN: 0037-0738
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:26
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016 08:41

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