Storm-dominated sedimentation in a protected basin fringed by coral reefs, Nara Inlet, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A. D. Heap, P. Larcombe, K. J. Woolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hydrodynamic data and samples of bed sediment were collected from Nara Inlet, a small incised embayment in the Whitsunday Islands, central Great Barrier Reef. Measured tidal currents in the inlet do not exceed 0.2 ms-1 even at spring tides. Swell waves dominate much of the inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef but are absent from in the inlet due to the presence of a fringing reef at the inlet mouth. On the silty sand floor of the inlet, particle size decreases towards the inlet head. Most of the bed is too coarse to be remobilised by fair-weather wave and tides, and we predict that bedload sediment transport thresholds are only exceeded in the inlet during cyclones. The observed distribution of bed sediments is consistent with landward dispersal of sediment under storm conditions. Over 20 m of (presumably Holocene) sediments occurs in the inlet and the seismic character of the infill is consistent with the observed textural variation of the modern sediments. We infer that sediment accumulation on the floor of the inlet has been storm dominated throughout much of the Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes

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