Lagoonal Sedimentation and Reef Development on Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef Province

  1. G. F. Camoin4 and
  2. P. J. Davies5
  1. B. T. Smith1,†,
  2. E. Frankel1 and
  3. J. S. Jell2

Published Online: 27 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304879.ch15

Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

How to Cite

Smith, B. T., Frankel, E. and Jell, J. S. (1998) Lagoonal Sedimentation and Reef Development on Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef Province, in Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (eds G. F. Camoin and P. J. Davies), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304879.ch15

Editor Information

  1. 4

    CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

  2. 5

    University of Sydney, Australia

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Applied Geology, University of Technology, Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia

  2. 2

    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia

  1. Australian Antarctic Division, Department of Environment, GPO Box 252-80, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 MAY 2009
  2. Published Print: 23 MAR 1998

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632047789

Online ISBN: 9781444304879

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Keywords:

  • passive margin - lagoonal sedimentation and reef development on Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef Province;
  • Heron reef morphology;
  • seismic profiling across Heron Reef - using high-resolution boomer system;
  • lagoonal sedimentation and reef development;
  • reef growth history;
  • distribution and timing of lagoonal sedimentation;
  • Davies and Heron Reefs - individual sedimentation styles within broadly similar models

Summary

Most studies of coral reef lagoonal sediments have been confined to surface materials. A three-dimensional appreciation of materials and processes in this environment has therefore not been fully provided. The combined use of vibrocoring and seismic profiling on Heron Reef provides the basis for a more thorough understanding of sedimentation processes, and allows them to be related to the overall development of the reef system. Heron Reef is a lagoonal platform reef in the Capricorn Group at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef Province. The lagoon is complex with both shallow (0–2 m) and deep (3–5 m) areas. The sediment accumulations in these areas are compositionally similar, but texturally different. Both areas have gravelly muddy sands (Facies 3) as basal fill, overlain by coarse sand in the shallow lagoon (Facies 1) and muddy sand in the deep lagoon (Facies 2). Radiocarbon ages of these sediments provide a minimum date of 4200 yr BP for the beginning of lagoonal filling. It is believed that Facies 3 was deposited before any of the reef reached sea-level. The windward margin reached sea-level first (possibly around 2700 yr BP) creating a different hydrodynamic environment across the platform. Subsequent sedimentation involved sorting behind the windward margin into the coarse sand of Facies 1 to windward and muddy sand of Facies 2 to leeward. Seismic profiles across Heron Reef indicate a planar foundation surface dipping at 0.03° to the east, which correlates with the position of the Pleistocene antecedent platform. The lagoon has not mimicked the substrate morphology.