Ancient Undersea Landslide Discovered In Australia

Image Credit: James Cook University

Scientists have found evidence of a massive ancient undersea landslide next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

It’s estimated that The Gloria Knolls Slide is well over 300,000 years old and around 32 cubic km in volume; this is around 30 times the size of Uluru, the famous rock landmark in central Australia.

The team conducting the research believe that the landslide could have also triggered a tsunami.

Large blocks, and smaller blocks were found scattered up to a depth of 1,350 metres, that’s more than 30km from the main remnants of the slip known as the Gloria Knolls Slide.

Scientist Dr Robin Beam from James Cook University said:

“We were amazed to discover this cluster of knolls.”

“In an area of the Queensland Trough that was supposed to be relatively flat were eight knolls, appearing like hills, with some over 100m high and 3km long.”

Image Credit: James Cook University

Dr. Angel Puga Bernabeu from University of Granada said:

“The oldest fossil corals recovered off the top of a sample knoll were 302,000 years old, which means the landslide is older.”

A sample which was taken from a depth of 1,170 meters, found amazing cold-water coral community of living and fossil cold-water coral creatures, gorgonian sea whips, bamboo corals, molluscs and stalked barnacles.

The team believe the discovery of this undersea landslide and its vast debris field in the deep Great Barrier Reef reveal a way more complex landscape than previously known.

The scientist said they would need more seabed mapping and sampling is required to assess the tsunami hazard to the Queensland coast posed by underwater landslides.

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Source: BBC

Author: Mr.Bee

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