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Interpreting features of carbonate geomorphology on Niue Island, a raised coral atoll

Terry, James P. and Nunn, Patrick D. (2003) Interpreting features of carbonate geomorphology on Niue Island, a raised coral atoll. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, 131 . pp. 43-57. ISSN 0372-8854

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Remote Niue Island in the south-west Pacific is an isolated high carbonate island, formed by the uplift of a coral-capped submarine volcano over the past 500,000 years. The distribution of various bedrock lithologies reveals the island’s atoll origin, with in situ coral and algal limestones forming a c.70m elevated rim ( former atoll reef), enclosing a c.35m central depression underlain by cemented calcareous and fossiliferous sands ( former lagoon floor). Much of the latter was dolomitised by interaction with hypersaline brine as slow emergence cut off the atoll lagoon from the sea. Major features of the carbonate geomorphology are a basin-and-rim structure, steep-walled coastal chasms and well- developed cave systems with abundant speleothems. This paper examines the origin of these features, highlights problems with their interpretation and proposes some new ideas. Uplift, submarine landslides and marine erosion and the effects of solution, are superimposed on an atoll terrain controlled by Quaternary emergence tectonism.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2003 05:23
Last Modified: 04 May 2012 04:39

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