Coral Reefs

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 555–565 | Cite as

Holocene evolution of the granite based Lizard Island and MacGillivray Reef systems, Northern Great Barrier Reef

  • Siwan A. Rees
  • Bradley N. Opdyke
  • Paul A. Wilson
  • L. Keith Fifield
  • Vladimir Levchenko


Radiocarbon dating of seven drill cores from both the windward Lizard Island fringing reef and the windward and leeward margins of MacGillivray platform reef, Northern Great Barrier Reef Province, reveal the Holocene evolution of these two mid shelf coral reefs. The windward margin at Lizard Island started growing approximately 6,700 calendar years before present (cal yr BP) directly on an assumed granite basement and approached present day sea level approximately 4,000 cal yr BP. Growth of the windward margin at MacGillivray Reef was initiated by 7,600 cal yr BP and approached present day sea level by approximately 5,600 cal yr BP. The leeward margin at MacGillivray was initiated by 8,200 cal yr BP also directly on an assumed granite basement, but only approached sea level relatively recently, between 260 and 80 cal yr BP. None of the cores penetrated the Holocene-Pleistocene unconformity. The absence of Pleistocene reefal deposits, at 15 m depth in the cores from MacGillivray Reef, raises the possibility that the shelf in this region has subsided relative to modern day sea level by at least 15 m since the last interglacial [125,000 years ago (ka)].


Lizard Island MacGillivray Reef Northern Great Barrier Reef Holocene Coral Reefs 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siwan A. Rees
    • 1
  • Bradley N. Opdyke
    • 2
  • Paul A. Wilson
    • 1
  • L. Keith Fifield
    • 3
  • Vladimir Levchenko
    • 3
  1. 1.National Oceanography Centre, SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Earth and Marine Sciences DepartmentAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear Physics, RSPhysSEAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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