Large submarine landslide discovered on the outer shelf and slope of the Great Barrier Reef
January 27, 2011

Authors: George, N., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R., Abbey, E.A., Davies, P.J.

Year: 2010

Publication: 2010 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, 13-17 December 2010. AGU, San Francisco, U.S.A.


We present the first submarine landslide ever discovered on the outer Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. The feature is 7 km wide and stretches out 5.5 km from the debris head to the toe. Hard, rocky, limestone dominated, shelf edge material has fallen from 70 m to depths of up to 225 m, resting on the fine sediment covered upper slope. The slide occurred at least 15,000 years ago, but is likely even older, occurring during a sea level high stand. The area and thickness of the landslide were inputted into a Ward and Day (2003) calculation and the results showed the potential to create a wave with a 1 m run up on the Australian coastline up to 180 km away.

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