Coral Reefs

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 163–169

Increased sediment supply to the Great Barrier Reef will not increase sediment accumulation at most coral reefs

  • P. Larcombe
  • K. J. Woolfe

DOI: 10.1007/s003380050174

Cite this article as:
Larcombe, P. & Woolfe, K. Coral Reefs (1999) 18: 163. doi:10.1007/s003380050174


 The rate of terrigenous sediment supply to the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) coastline has probably increased in the last 200 years due to human impact on the catchments of central Queensland. This has led some researchers and environmental managers to conclude that corals within the GBR are under threat from increased turbidity and sedimentation. Using geological data and information on sedimentary processes, we show that turbidity levels and sediment accumulation rates at most coral reefs will not be increased, because these factors are not currently limited by sediment supply.

Key words Coral reefs human impacts sedimentation turbidity Great Barrier Reef 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Larcombe
    • 1
  • K. J. Woolfe
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Geophysical Laboratory School of Earth Sciences James Cook University Townsville 4811 Australia e-mail:

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