From the starting of the Cainozoic geological era Australia is moving northwards at the rate of 7 centimetres per year. During this era, at the same time, Eastern Australia encountered an immensely strong earthquake, in the form of a tectonic uplift which leading to Queensland moving inland due to water divides. Due to the tectonic uplift, the continent also experienced a series of volcanic eruptions, leading to an erection of central and shield volcanoes and basalt streams. These volcanoes and basalt flows over the time, cooled down and settled down into huge high islands.
After the formation of the Coral Sea Basin, coral reefs began to nurture, but then Queensland’s climate was still cold enough to support coral growth. About 25 million years back, Queensland floated into the tropical waters, the complex geological changes in coral reefs began to occur. Depending how sea levels change, the growth and recession of coral reefs also change as they don’t grow deep in the ocean for need of sunlight and neither can they grow above sea level. Their growth change can range from a diameter of 1 to 3 centimetres every year and vertically, 1 to 25 centimetres.
The land that forms the base for the coral reef to grow and other marine species to sustain, are the remains of the sediments of the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s largest mountain range. When Queensland floated into the tropical waters 25 million years ago, coral reefs started to develop, but creation of river deltas and oozes, due to sedimentation from the Great Dividing Range had a negative effect on coral growth. The substrate of the Great Barrier Reef may have had to considerably build up, so that it was far away enough from further sedimentation of the mountains. This lead to an increase and substantial growth in corals with a positive addition of the warm interglacial period, raising sea levels and temperatures by 4 degree Celsius.