Abstract

We report the discovery of three submerged, living patch coral reefs covering 80 km2 in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, an area previously thought not to contain coral bioherms. The patch reefs have their upper surfaces at a mean water depth of 28.6±0.5 m, and were consequently not detected by satellites or aerial photographs. The reefs were only recognised in our survey using multibeam swath sonar supplemented with seabed sampling and under water video. Their existence points to an earlier, late Quaternary phase of framework reef growth, probably under cooler climate and lower sea level conditions than today. Submerged reefs with surfaces between 20 and 30 m water depth occur in other regions of the Earth and existing bathymetry indicates they could be widespread in the Gulf. Many tropical regions that today do not support patch or barrier reefs for reasons similar to the modern Gulf, may have done so in the past, when environmental conditions were more suitable. Submerged reefs may provide an important refuge for corals during the next few decades when near-surface reefs are threatened by widespread coral bleaching due to warmer global sea surface temperatures.
Google map showing geographic bounding box with values North bound -14.0 East bound 142.0 West bound 135.0 South bound -18.0
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Product Type/Sub Type

dataset - External Publication - Scientific Journal Paper

Constraints

license
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

IP Owner

Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)

Author(s)

Date (publication)

2004

Product Type

dataset

Topic Category

geoscientificInformation

Keywords

External Publication
Scientific Journal Paper
marine
Earth Sciences

Resource Language

English

Resource Character Set

utf8

Resource Security Classification

unclassified

Geographic Extent

North bound
-14.0
East bound
142.0
West bound
135.0
South bound
-18.0

Lineage

Unknown

Digital Transfer Options

onLine

Distributor

Role
distributor
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address

Metadata File Identifier

a05f7892-ed72-7506-e044-00144fdd4fa6

Metadata Standard Name

ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

Metadata Standard Version

1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2004-08-27

METADATA SECURITY CLASSIFICATION

unclassified

Metadata Contact

Role
pointOfContact
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address
Related Links
For information on acquiring this product,
please contact the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre via:

fax:
+61 2 6249 9960; or
phone:
1800 800 173 (within Australia);
 
+61 2 6249 9966 (outside Australia).

Please note that support hours are 9 am to 5 pm weekdays