Study Accurately Dates Coral Loss At Great Barrier Reef

2016-04-05T18:21:48+00:00 March 3, 2016|
Great Barrier Reef

(Click to enlarge image) Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (Credit: NASA)

The timing of significant Great Barrier Reef coral loss captured by a series of historical photos has been accurately determined for the first time by a University of Queensland-led study.

(From Science Daily) Professor Jian-xin Zhao from UQ’s School of Earth Sciences said the photos were a powerful visual tool often used to highlight the recent decline of the Great Barrier Reef. “These photographs taken from the late 19th Century onwards of two inshore Great Barrier Reef locations near Bowen, Queensland, reveal a dramatic loss of coral cover,” Professor Zhao said. “Yet until now no information has been available on when these changes took place, or what caused these changes — which can lead to the photos being misinterpreted.” Using techniques including uranium-thorium dating in UQ’s Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory researchers were able to determine when the corals had died with a precision of up to one to two years.

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