Sediment flux across the Great Barrier Reef Shelf to the Queensland Trough over the last 300 ky

Dunbar, G.B., Dickens, G.R., and Carter, R.M. (2000) Sediment flux across the Great Barrier Reef Shelf to the Queensland Trough over the last 300 ky. Sedimentary Geology, 133 (1-2). pp. 49-92.

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Abstract

The continental margin off northeast Australia, comprising the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) platform and Queensland Trough, is the largest tropical mixed siliciclastic /carbonate depositional system in existence. We describe a suite of 35 piston cores and two Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sites from a 130×240 km rectangular area of the Queensland Trough, the slope and basin setting east of the central GBR platform. Oxygen isotope records, physical property (magnetic susceptibility and greyscale) logs, analyses of bulk carbonate content and radiocarbon ages at these locations are used to construct a high resolution stratigraphy. This information is used to quantify mass accumulation rates (MARs) for siliciclastic and carbonate sediments accumulating in the Queensland Trough over the last 31,000 years. For the slope, highest MARs of siliciclastic sediment occur during transgression (1.0 Million Tonnes per year; MT yr⁻¹), and lowest MARs of siliciclastic (<0.1 MT yr⁻¹) and carbonate (0.2 MT yr⁻¹) sediment occur during sea level lowstand. Carbonate MARs are similar to siliciclastic MARs for transgression and highstand (1.1–1.4 MT yr⁻¹). In contrast, for the basin, MARs of siliciclastic (0–0.1 MT yr⁻¹) and carbonate sediment (0.2–0.4 MT yr⁻¹) are continuously low, and within a factor of two, for lowstand, transgression, and highstand. Generic models for carbonate margins predict that maximum and minimum carbonate MARs on the slope will occur during highstand and lowstand, respectively. Conversely, most models for siliciclastic margins suggest maximum and minimum siliciclastic MARs will occur during lowstand and transgression, respectively. Although carbonate MARs in the Queensland Trough are similar to those predicted for carbonate depositional systems, siliciclastic MARs are the opposite. Given uniform siliciclastic MARs in the basin through time, we conclude that terrigenous material is stored on the shelf during sea level lowstand, and released to the slope during transgression as wave driven currents transport shelf sediment offshore.

Item ID: 13020
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; Queensland Trough; sediment flux; sedimentation rates; sequence stratigraphy
ISSN: 0037-0738
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2012 13:24
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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