Vila-Concejo, A. Harris, D.L., Shannon, A.M., Webster, J.M., and, Power, H.E., 2013. Coral reef sediment dynamics: evidence of sand-apron evolution on a daily and decadal scale
This paper investigates sand apron progradation on decadal and daily scales on a platform reef (One Tree Reef, OTR) located in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The decadal scale is addressed by analysing sand apron progradation using remotely sensed images (aerial photos and satellite imagery) coupled with wind data and cyclone events. The daily scale is addressed through a field campaign that was undertaken in September-October 2011. The campaign consisted of hydrodynamic measurements in three stations over the southern sand apron in OTR. It was found that while there was a small overall progradation over the last 31 years, the progradation had not occurred continuously or consistently along the entire sand apron. Additionally, the effect of cyclones was not clear on the decadal scale. On the daily scale, it was found that currents are generally weak (<0.4 m/s) and that currents during conditions at which suspended sediment is maximized are ocean-ward directed on the central part of the sand apron and lagoon-ward directed on the easternmost end. As such, daily sediment transport does not represent a gross contribution to lagoon infilling by sand apron progradation. Our results show that sand apron progradation does not occur continuously on the decadal or the daily scale.