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Shore platform development on an uplifting limestone island over multiple sea-level cycles, Niue, South Pacific

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Niue is an uplifted limestone island, which preserves an atoll morphology with a sequence of terraces around

    its outer margin. A modern terrace fringes much of the island and this paper examines the extent to which

    this terrace can be considered accretionary and constructed by coral and coralline algae, or erosional and

    truncated by those processes that form shore platforms. The occurrence of Pleistocene limestone outcropping

    across this terrace and the continuation of caves and other karst features, dissecting the sub-aerial limestones,

    onto the forereef indicate the overall significance of erosion. At present live coral cover is restricted

    to isolated colonies growing in grooves, potholes and karstic channels eroded into the modern terrace surface.

    Coralline algae coat the outer margin of this terrace, and also veneer prominent surf benches that occur on the

    windward shore, 1–2 m above the terrace surface. Terrace evolution on Niue therefore appears to be primarily

    erosional in origin. There is little accommodation space for reef growth and, as a result, accretional fringing

    reefs are absent around most of the island. Erosional processes have also dominated landscape evolution for at

    least the past few eustatic cycles. Fringing reef growth is absent or severely restricted during the last interglacial

    and occurs as sporadic small reefs on the seaward margin of an erosional terrace during the penultimate interglacial.

    The development of terrace features in uplifting reef settings does not necessarily originate through accretional

    reef processes and may in fact be entirely erosional. Although reef terraces are frequently depositional in

    other settings, those present on Niue indicate a predominance of erosion, indicating the need to discriminate

    emergent terraces in terms of the extent to which they are erosional or accretionary when using such features

    to reconstruct island palaeoenvironments.

UOW Authors


  •   Kennedy, David (external author)
  •   Marsters, T Helene (external author)
  •   Woods, Josephine (external author)
  •   Woodroffe, Colin

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Kennedy, D., Marsters, T. Helene., Woods, J. L.D. & Woodroffe, C. D. (2012). Shore platform development on an uplifting limestone island over multiple sea-level cycles, Niue, South Pacific. Geomorphology, 141-142 170-182.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84856452146

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4095

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 170

End Page


  • 182

Volume


  • 141-142

Place Of Publication


  • Netherlands

Abstract


  • Niue is an uplifted limestone island, which preserves an atoll morphology with a sequence of terraces around

    its outer margin. A modern terrace fringes much of the island and this paper examines the extent to which

    this terrace can be considered accretionary and constructed by coral and coralline algae, or erosional and

    truncated by those processes that form shore platforms. The occurrence of Pleistocene limestone outcropping

    across this terrace and the continuation of caves and other karst features, dissecting the sub-aerial limestones,

    onto the forereef indicate the overall significance of erosion. At present live coral cover is restricted

    to isolated colonies growing in grooves, potholes and karstic channels eroded into the modern terrace surface.

    Coralline algae coat the outer margin of this terrace, and also veneer prominent surf benches that occur on the

    windward shore, 1–2 m above the terrace surface. Terrace evolution on Niue therefore appears to be primarily

    erosional in origin. There is little accommodation space for reef growth and, as a result, accretional fringing

    reefs are absent around most of the island. Erosional processes have also dominated landscape evolution for at

    least the past few eustatic cycles. Fringing reef growth is absent or severely restricted during the last interglacial

    and occurs as sporadic small reefs on the seaward margin of an erosional terrace during the penultimate interglacial.

    The development of terrace features in uplifting reef settings does not necessarily originate through accretional

    reef processes and may in fact be entirely erosional. Although reef terraces are frequently depositional in

    other settings, those present on Niue indicate a predominance of erosion, indicating the need to discriminate

    emergent terraces in terms of the extent to which they are erosional or accretionary when using such features

    to reconstruct island palaeoenvironments.

UOW Authors


  •   Kennedy, David (external author)
  •   Marsters, T Helene (external author)
  •   Woods, Josephine (external author)
  •   Woodroffe, Colin

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Kennedy, D., Marsters, T. Helene., Woods, J. L.D. & Woodroffe, C. D. (2012). Shore platform development on an uplifting limestone island over multiple sea-level cycles, Niue, South Pacific. Geomorphology, 141-142 170-182.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84856452146

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4095

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 170

End Page


  • 182

Volume


  • 141-142

Place Of Publication


  • Netherlands