Journal article

A Cenozoic Great Barrier Reef on Australia's North West shelf

Jackson C McCaffrey, Malcolm W Wallace, Stephen J Gallagher



The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is the largest modern coral reef system on Earth. However, a similar-sized barrier reef (~2000 km long) existed on Australia's north-western margin in the middle Miocene and to some extent, still exists today. Seismic profiles reveal that this reef system was first initiated in the late Paleogene (~34–28 Ma) and reached its zenith as a prograding barrier reef during the middle Miocene (16–15 Ma). This giant reef system backstepped in the late Miocene (~10 Ma), forming a series of isolated atolls and pinnacle reefs. These remaining reefs were gradually extinguished, leaving only a few surviving isolated atolls today (Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef, Seringapatam ..

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Awarded by ARC Basins Genesis Hub

Funding Acknowledgements

An Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship is supporting J. McCaffrey. We would like to thank IHS Markit for their donation of the Kingdom seismic interpretation software. Funding was provided to S.J.G. by the ARC Basins Genesis Hub (IH130200012) and the Australian IODP office. Editor L. Matenco and two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged for their detailed and helpful comments.