Harris and Davies 1989

scientific article | Coral Reefs

Submerged reefs and terraces on the shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Harris PT, Davies PJ


The morphology and distribution of seabed features on the shelf edge and upper slope adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, has been examined using shallow seismic profiling, side-scan sonar and precision echo sounding data, supplemented by submersible investigations. The data reveal a submerged barrier reef system at different locations between 15° 45′ S and 21° 00′ S. At two locations, an extensive offshore platform rising above the 50 m isobath and extending for over 20 km parallel to the shelf edge is backed by a relict lagoon at an average depth of 75 m. In addition, outer shelf and upper slope terraces are found at many depths; however, only some occur consistently throughout the region while most others occur only locally. Frequency distributions indicate the greatest occurrence of features at depths of 44–46, 60–66, 72–78, 80–84, 102–106 and 146–148 m. Caution should be exercised when interpreting these features with respect to specific lower sea level stands.

Research sites
Depth range
25- 167 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
0 x (total of 4678 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'


Australia - Great Barrier Reef

Sonar / Multibeam
Manned Submersible

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