Hot off the press! Submarine landslides offshore the Great Barrier Reef – How big and how many?


Please join me in congratulating GRG collaborator Dr Angel Puga-Bernabéu on the publication of his new paper in the journal Geomorphology.

Puga-Bernabéu, Á., López-Cabrera, J., Webster, J.M. and Beaman, R.J., 2022. Submarine landslide morphometrics and slope failure dynamics along a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic margin, north-eastern Australia. Geomorphology, 403.

We have known for sometime that the sea bed offshore the Great Barrier is marked by significant submarine landslides on the continental shelf and slope. In this new paper we systematically mapped and analysed the size, shape, distribution, and depth of 84 underwater landslides in the Great Barrier Reef area. Comparatively little work has been carried out on the morphology and distribution of submarine landslides on mixed carbonate-siliciclastic margins.


Key Points of the Paper:

  • Most comprehensive inventory of underwater landslides along the north-eastern Australia continental slope.
  • New insights into slope failure from an analysis of 84 landslides observed in the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Five percent of the landslides had the potential to produce large tsunamis along the coast in the past.
  • This inventory is the foundation for assessing future natural hazards from landslides along the GBR margin.

You can also check a spectacular 3D “fly through” of the Gloria Knolls Slide, one of the more important submarine landslides catalogued along margin.

We hope this paper will be of value to the community interested submarine landslides, their role in sculpting continental margins and their potential to produce significant tsunami. This landslide inventory (and the wealth morphometric measurements!) represents a huge effort by Angel and the team – so well done indeed!

Future work will build directly on this new inventory and will aim to calculate the area-specific tsunami risk should similar types of landslides occur in the future.




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