Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands

  • Jean-Michel Lebigre
  • Eric Bird
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_246


New Caledonia (area, 19,800 sq km) has a coastline about 2,254 km long. It is a mountainous island (rising to 1,629 mon Mont Panié) consisting mainly of crystalline schists with peridotite and serpentine rock. The east coast is generally steep, with only minor plains around river mouths, several of which open into deep rias; the west coast has more extensive plains, backed by a hilly hinterland, with numerous promontories and islands, and intervening embayments into which deltas have been built. Open-cast mining of nickel is extensive in the lateritised peridotite highlands of New Caledonia, and has added red clay, sand, gravel, and boulders to the natural sediment loads of many of the rivers, eventually accelerating the infilling of estuaries, the progradation of deltas, and the shallowing of nearshore waters. Evidence of such changes has been obtained by comparing nineteenth-century maps and charts with air photographs taken in 1954 and 1976 (Bird et al. 1984)....


Coral Reef Mining Waste Sandy Beach Patch Reef Fringe Reef 
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  1. Bird ECF, Dubois JP, Iltis JA (1984) The impacts of opencast mining on the rivers and coasts of New Caledonia. United Nations University, Tokyo, JapanGoogle Scholar
  2. Chevalier JP (1973) Coral reefs of New Caledonia. In: Jones OA, Endean R (eds) Biology and geology of coral reefs. New York, Academic Press, pp 143–167Google Scholar
  3. Stevenson J, Dodson JR, Prosser IP (2001) A late quaternary record of environmental change and human impact from New Caledonia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 168:97–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Michel Lebigre
    • 1
  • Eric Bird
  1. 1.University of New Caledonia, NouméaGeostudiesAustralia