Physiography of the exmouth and Scott Plateaus, Western Australia, and adjacent northeast Wharton Basin

D. A. Falvey*, J. J. Veevers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    The continental margin of Western Australia is a rifted or "Atlantic"-type margin, with a complex physiography. The margin comprises a shelf, an upper and lower continental slope, marginal plateaus, a continental rise, and rise or lower slope foothills. Notches or terraces on the shelf reflect pre-Holocene deposition of prograded sediment, whose seaward limit was determined by variations in relative sea level, wave energy, and sediment size and volume. The upper continental slope has four physiographic forms: convex, due to sediment outbuilding (progradation) over a subsiding marginal plateau; scarped, due to erosion of convex slopes; stepped, due to deposition at the base of a scarped slope; and smooth, due to progradation of an upper slope in the absence of a marginal plateau. Lying at the same level as the upper/lower slope boundary are two extensive marginal plateaus: Exmouth and Scott. They represent continental crust which subsided after continental rupture by sea-floor spreading. Differential subsidence, probably along faults, gave rise to the various physiographic features of the plateaus. The deep lower continental slope is broken into straight northeasterly-trending segments, that parallel the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous rift axis, and northwesterly-trending segments that parallel the transform direction. The trends of the slope foothills are subparallel to the rift direction. The four abyssal plains of the region (Perth, Cuvier, Gascoyne and Argo) indicate a long history of subsidence and sedimentation on Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous oceanic crust.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-59
    Number of pages39
    JournalMarine Geology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1974


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