Morphological variation, composition and age of submerged reefs on the Great Barrier Reef
October 05, 2009

Authors: Abbey, E., Webster, J., Jacobsen, G., Thomas, A., Henderson, G., Reimer, P., Braga, J.C., Camoin, G., Beaman, R., Tudhope, A., Bridge, T., George, N.

Year: 2009

Publication: IODP – New Ventures In Exploring Scientific Targets, 23-25 September 2009. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Bremen, Germany.


Coral reefs are powerful indicators of environmental changes, such as sea level, salinity and sea surface temperature fluctuations. Many sites within the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean have been investigated, yet the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) remains largely under-represented in early deglacial, Late Pleistocene records.

IODP Expedition 325 Site Survey (Proposal 519) returned with 4200 km2 of high-resolution multibeam bathymetry of submerged reef features on the shelf edge, revealing extensive terraces, barrier reefs, lagoons, pinnacles and palaeo-channels. Fossil coral reef specimens were collected from these features (in situ and loose) at depths ranging from 45 – 160 m and dated using 14C AMS and U-Th.

Preliminary results suggest the morphology of the features and the timing of drowning are influenced by a number of complex factors, possibly including, but not limited to variations in sea level, latitude, shelf width, local weather patterns and reef community composition.

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