Tufa Colonies

Posted on Jan 23, 2015

Tufa ColoniesCoastAndMarine

Tufa colonies occur in near-shore shallow bedrock settings with local groundwater discharge.  They are rimstone pools and cave structures formed by a diverse variety of microbial organisms including cyanobacteria, diatoms and other algal components forming chemical sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate precipitated from freshwater streams and springs.

There are numerous tufa deposits located in the south west coastal zone of Western Australia between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. They are found in various locations as two basic forms:

  • a perched spring line and cascade model centred around the water fall areas of Meekadarribee Falls, Quinninup Falls and Quarry Bay.
  • perched spring line and barrage type formation associated with near-shore bedrock deposits such as at Canal Rocks, Contos Springs and Quarry Bay.

Current Conservation Status

The Tufa Colonies are identified as the Augusta Microbial (Tufa) Threatened Ecological Community by the Department of Parks and Wildlife which is listed as Endangered.


There are many threats to the Tufa Colonies including water and climate issues such as availability, reduced flow, water quality and pollution, physical disturbance from trampling, weeds, fire and serendipitous events and physical collapse caused from structural failure and algal intrusion.

SWCC Strategic Priority

Tufa colonies are identified within SWCC’s NRM Strategy as a first order priority asset under the Coasts and Marine Environment themes.


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