Pre-development denudation rates for the Great Barrier Reef catchments derived using 10Be
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Understanding of the pre-development, baseline denudation rates that deliver sediment to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has been elusive. Cosmogenic 10Be in sediment is a useful integrator of denudation rates and sediment yields averaged over large spatial and temporal scales. This study presents 10Be data from 71 sites across 11 catchments draining to the GBR: representing 80% of the GBR catchment area and provide background sediment yields for the region. Modern, short-term, sediment yields derived from suspended load concentrations are compared to the 10Be data to calculate an Accelerated Erosion Factor (AEF) that highlights denudation “hot-spots” where sediment yields have increased over the long-term background values. The AEF results show that 58% basins have higher modern sediment yields than long-term yields. The AEF is considered a useful approach to help prioritise on-ground investments in remediation and the additional measured empirical data in this paper will help support future predictive models.
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Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation