How did the world’s largest sand island, K’gari, the indigenous name for eastern Australia’s Fraser Island, along with the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, come to be?
How did the world’s largest sand island, K’gari, the indigenous name for eastern Australia’s Fraser Island, along with the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, come to be? Little is known about the formation of these UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, which have been influenced by a stable, long-term tectonic history over the Quaternary period that began 2.6 million years ago.
But new findings by Utah State University geoscientist Tammy Rittenour and an international team of colleagues point to a modern-day concern that could have initiated the iconic landforms’ beginnings some 800,000 years ago: sea-level rise.
Rittenour and researchers from the University of Queensland, Australian National University, Flinders University, the University of Western Australia, the University of Canterbury, Clarkson University and Stockholm University report the findings in the Nov. 14, 2022, issue of Nature Geoscience. The team’s research was supported by an Australian Research Council grant.
Read more at: Utah State University
From left, USU geoscientist Tammy Rittenour and colleagues collect sediment samples from eastern Australia's K’gari, formerly known as Fraser Island. Their work sheds new light on the formation of the massive sand island, as well as the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo Credit: Utah State University)