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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 13:00

Ancient submarine landslide discovered at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (video)

Ancient submarine landslide discovered at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (video) Credits: deepreef.org

Remnants of a landslide, known as the Gloria Knolls Slide, were discovered by scientists 75 km off the north Queensland coast, near the town of Innisfail in Australia.

Being approximately 30 times the volume of Ayers Rock, Gloria Knolls Slide is the largest subaqueous landslide discovered in the recent years, with a total volume of approximately 32 cubic meters. It is 20 km long and 8 km wide indent, extending from 250 - 1080 m depth. James Cook University (JCU) scientists that helped in the discovery of the landslide report that these are the remains of a massive collapse of sediment, taking place more than 300,000 years ago.

JCU's Dr. Robin Beaman said that "a debris field of large blocks, or knolls, and numerous smaller blocks, lies scattered over about 30 kilometres from the main landslide remains, into the Queensland Trough". The scientists discovered the series of large blocks during ocean floor surveys off the coast of Innisfail, then revealed the landslide source of the blocks, using 3D multibeam mapping techniques. According to Dr. Beaman, this subsea landslide could have triggered a tsunami of more than 25 meters high, although the wave would have most probably been significantly dampened by the existence of coral reefs in the area.

To investigate the tsunami hazard posed to the Queensland coast by these types of underwater landslides, more seabed mapping and sampling is now needed; the ongoing research is a joint effort between James Cook University, University of Sydney, University of Granada, University of Edinburgh and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

You may watch a fly – through video animation of the Gloria Knolls Slide under "Media" below.

Source: PHYS.ORG

Read 1187 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 14:06

Media

Fly-through of Gloria Knolls Slide, Queensland The University of Sydney

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