Research in Great Australian Bight yields exciting early results


  • Albert C. Hine,

    1. Department of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 Seventh Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5016 USA
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  • David A. Feary,

  • Mitchell J. Malone,

  • Leg 182 Shipboard Party


Confirmation that Pleistocene mound features underlying the outer shelf and shelf edge are bryozoan buildups—effectively coolwater reefs—was one of several exciting discoveries during recent research earlier this year on the Great Australian Bight. Also found on Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 182 was startling evidence of high salinity fluid circulation within the shelf substrate, producing extremely high methane and hydrogen sulfide gas levels and accelerated diagenesis.

In addition, an expanded middle Eocene to early Oligocene record of Southern Ocean initiation was recovered by the shipboard scientific party, aboard the JOIDES Resolution. The group also calculated unexpectedly high rates of shelf edge cool-water carbonate accumulation (up to 40 cm/kyr).