Shell and Sand Beach Ridges

Tropical cyclone storm tides and waves can deposit ridges composed of other materials besides coral shingle depending upon the source material availability.

Princess Charlotte Bay (PCB) in the northern GBR has a sequence of 12 ridges composed of sand and matrix supported marine shells. Here the sequence spans the past 2,500 years with an average interval between ridge emplacement of 177 years. Near Pormpuraaw on the western side of Cape York Peninsula over 30 ridges have been emplaced over the past 3,000 years giving an average interval between ridge emplacement of 100 years (Figs. 5 and 6). Here the ridges are composed of medium-grained sand with clast supported beds of marine shell (typically Anadara sp.) between 0.5 to 2m thick. The ridges rise in height to 5 m above AHD and the stratigraphy and chronology of the shell beds within the ridges suggests that each ridge represents a separate tropical cyclone event (Rhodes et al., 1980; Nott and Hayne in prep).

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