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  • In this study of the beach-ridge plain at Keppel Bay, on the central coast of Queensland, we examine ridge morphology, sediment texture and geochemistry. We build a detailed chronology for the ridge succession using the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating method. Although our interpretations are preliminary, our results suggest that significant changes have occurred in the rate of shoreline accumulation of sediment, catchment sediment source areas, and that there have been minor falls in relative sea level.

  • Results are given of investigations carried out to detect any variation in the relative proportions of the several heavy minerals in heavy concentrates separated out from beach sands of the Broadbeach Recreational Area. The possible variation of the thoria content of monazite in the area is also investigated. Results indicate a systematic variation from east to west in the proportion of Zircon, rutile and ilmenite in the concentrates. The thoria content of the monazite in the area is shown to be constant within experimental limits.

  • Geoscience Australia carried out marine surveys in Jervis Bay (NSW) in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (GA303, GA305, GA309, GA312) to map seabed bathymetry and characterise benthic environments through co-located sampling of surface sediments (for textural and biogeochemical analysis) and infauna, observation of benthic habitats using underwater towed video and stills photography, and measurement of ocean tides and wave-generated currents. Data and samples were acquired using the Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) Research Vessel Kimbla. Bathymetric mapping, sampling and tide/wave measurement were concentrated in a 3x5 km survey grid (named Darling Road Grid, DRG) within the southern part of the Jervis Bay, incorporating the bay entrance. Additional sampling and stills photography plus bathymetric mapping along transits was undertaken at representative habitat types outside the DRG. This 42 sample data set comprises the mineraology of surface seabed sediment (~0-2 cm) in Jervis Bay. More information: Radke, L.C., Huang, Z., Przeslawski, R., Webster, I.T., McArthur, M.A., Anderson, T.J., P.J. Siwabessy, Brooke, B. 2011. Including biogeochemical factors and a temporal component in benthic habitat maps: influences on infaunal diversity in a temperate embayment. Marine and Freshwater Research 62 (12): 1432 - 1448. Huang, Z., McArthur, M., Radke, L., Anderson, T., Nichol, S., Siwabessy, J. and Brooke, B. 2012. Developing physical surrogates for benthic biodiversity using co-located samples and regression tree models: a conceptual synthesis for a sandy temperature embayment. International Journal of Geographical Information Science DOI:10.1080/13658816.2012.658808.

  • There is growing global concern for the impact of increased fluvial sediment loads on tropical coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems. The Fitzroy River is a macrotidal, tide-dominated estuary in the dry tropics of central Queensland and is a major contributor of sediment to the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon. The estuary currently receives most of its sediment during large episodic flood events commonly associated with cyclonic depressions. The sediment dynamics of macrotidal estuaries and especially of wet-dry tropical systems, with intermittent flows and sediment discharge are poorly understood. Average annual sediment budgets for such a system are also difficult to estimate due to the sporadic nature of flood discharge events. Therefore we have estimated a long-term sediment accumulation rate of catchment-derived sediment trapped in the estuary using the Holocene stratigraphic sequence, determined from a series of sediment cores, dated with radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and integrated with industry borehole data. We estimate that 17,400 million tonnes (Mt) of river sediment has accumulated in the estuary during the last 8000 years. This suggests a minimum mean annual bulk sediment discharge of the Fitzroy River of 2000 kt yr-1. This estimated 2175 kilotonnes per year (kt yr-1) of bulk sediment is equivalent to 25% of the estimated average annual modern bulk sediment discharge of the Fitzroy River of 8800 kt yr-1, (Kelly and Wong, 1996) suggesting that the sediment trapping efficiency of the Fitzroy estuary during the Holocene has been approximately 25%. This implies that 75% of the river sediment has been exported from the estuary into Keppel Bay and the adjacent GBR lagoon during the Holocene. With minimal accommodation space left in the floodplain, modern sediment accumulation appears to be focussed around the mangroves and tidal creeks, which cover an area of 130 km2. Cores from the tidal creeks were dated using 137Cs, excess 210Pb, and OSL and display sedimentation rates of approximately 1.5 cm yr-1 for the last 45-120 years, or 1700 kt yr-1, and suggest a modern sediment trapping efficiency for the estuary of around 19%. These results provide useful insights into the long-term sedimentation and quantification of the sediment trapping efficiency of a subtropical macro-tidal estuary with episodic floods, where sediment trapping will vary seasonally and inter-annually.

  • Geoscience Australia is the national custodian for coastal geoscientific data and information. The organisation developed the OzCoasts web-based database and information system to draw together a diverse range of data and information on Australia's coasts and its estuaries. Previously known as OzEstuaries, the website was designed with input from over 100 scientists and resource managers from more than 50 organisations including government, universities and the National Estuaries Network. The former Coastal CRC and National Land and Water Resources Audit were instrumental in coordinating communication between the different agencies. Each month approximately 20,000 unique visitors from more than 140 countries visit the website to view around 80,000 pages. Maps, images, reports and data can be downloaded to assist with coastal science, monitoring and management. The content is arranged into six inter-linked modules: Search Data, Conceptual Models, Coastal Indicators, Habitat Mapping, Natural Resource Management, Landform and Stability Maps. More....

  • As part of the National Coastal Vulnerability Assessment currently being undertaken by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Geoscience Australia is developing a nationally consistent geomorphic classification of the Australian coastal zone. Mapped coastal geomorphology is a fundamental data layer required by all levels of government to undertake modelling of coastal processes and assessment of coastal vulnerability to the potential impacts of global climate change. A digital coastal geomorphology map, combined with a high resolution digital elevation model, will allow for detailed sea-level rise modelling and assist in the identification of potentially susceptible landform units.

  • The historical record reveals that at least five tsunamis have impacted the Western Australian coast (1993, 1977, 1994, 2004, 2006). We document the geomorphic effects of these tsunamis through field investigations, analysis of pre and post-tsunami satellite imagery, collation of historical reports and recording of eyewitness accounts. The tsunamis had flow depths of less than 3 m, inundation distances of up to several hundred metres and a maximum recorded run-up height of 8 m a.s.l. Geomorphic effects include off-shore and near-shore erosion and extensive vegetation damage. In some cases, vegetated foredunes were severely depleted or completely removed. Gullies and scour pockets up to 1.5 m deep were eroded into topographic highs during tsunami outflow. Eroded sediments were redeposited landward as sediment sheets several centimetres thick. Isolated coral blocks and oyster-encrusted boulders were deposited over coastal dunes. However, boulder ridges were often unaffected by tsunami flow. The extent of inundation from the most recent tsunamis can be distinguished as strandlines of coral rubble and rafted vegetation. It is likely taht these features are ephemeral and seasonal coastal processes will obscure all traces of these signatures within years to decades. Recently reported evidence for Holocene palaeotsunamis on the Western Australian coast suggests significantly larger run-up and inundation than observed in the historical record. The evidence includes signatures such as chevrons dunes that have not been observed to form during historical events. We have compared the geomorphic effects of historical tsunami with reported palaeotsunami evidence from Coral Bay, Cape Range Peninsula and Port Samson. We conclude that much of the postulated palaeotsunami evidence can be explained by more common and ongoing geomorphic processes such as reef evolution, aeolian dune development and archaeological site formation.

  • Workshop Proceedings of the National Coastal Groundwater Management Knowledge Transfer Workshop held in Canberra on 28-29 May 2013

  • This study examined the geomorphology of the sea bed, the spatial distribution of the various sediment types and the geomorphic evolution of Cockburn Sound.