Skip links and keyboard navigation

Coastal sand masses (beach ridges)

Beach ridges

Cladium spp Sedges Sedges Sedges Sedges Sedges Cladium spp Cladium spp Negligible groundwater movement Low permeability rock Corymbia spp Outcropping low permeability rock Sand unsaturated Melaleuca spp Infiltration and percolation Sand unsaturated Direction of groundwater movement Low permeability rock Direction of groundwater movement Fresh groundwater and saline marine interaction Direction of groundwater movement Subterranean GDEs Low permeability rock Direction of groundwater movement Negligible groundwater movement Direction of groundwater movement Low permeability rock Cladium spp Cladium spp Sedges Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Melaleuca spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Corymbia spp Melaleuca spp Melaleuca spp Melaleuca spp Melaleuca spp Melaleuca spp Melaleuca spp Terrestrial GDEs Evapotranspiration Evapotranspiration Direction of groundwater movement Negligible groundwater movement Marine GDEs Infiltration and percolation Surface expression GDEs (estuarine) Terrestrial GDEs Surface expression GDEs Surface expression of groundwater for some or all of their wSurface expression GDEs Surface expression of groundwater for some or all of their wSurface expression GDEs Seagrass Direction of saline marine water movement Fish Dugong Evapotranspiration Mangrove spp Springs Banksia spp Melaleuca spp Corymbia spp Sedges Cladium spp Basement Low permeability rock Sand saturated with saline marine water Sand saturated with fresh groundwater Sand unsaturated

Click on elements of the model or select from the tabs below

Beach ridges have developed along the Queensland coastline. They are largely comprised of coastal sands and typically support a single, unconsolidated sedimentary aquifer, where groundwater forms a freshwater lens in the intergranular voids of the coastal sand mass. Perched aquifers may also occur over low permeability layers within the sand mass.

Unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers in sand masses may provide a wide range of ecosystems with water required to support their fauna and flora communities, ecological processes and delivery of ecosystem services.

  • Palustrine (e.g. swamps) and lacustrine (e.g. lakes) wetlands and riverine (e.g. streams and rivers) water bodies on coastal sand masses may depend on the surface expression of groundwater from these unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers.
  • Terrestrial vegetation on coastal sand masses may depend on the subsurface presence of groundwater in these unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers where groundwater is typically accessed through the capillary zone above the water table.
  • Unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers may also support subterranean ecosystems within the aquifer itself, sometimes is indicated by the presence of stygofauna.
  • Estuarine and near-shore marine ecosystems located adjacent to coastal sand masses may depend on the discharge of groundwater from these unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers.

Pictorial conceptual model PDF


Last updated: 18 December 2015

This page should be cited as:

Coastal sand masses (beach ridges), WetlandInfo 2013, Queensland Government, Queensland, viewed 1 August 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/aquatic-ecosystems-natural/groundwater-dependent/coastal-sand-mass-beach-ridges/>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Heritage Protection