Publication Details

Larsen, J, Nanson, GC, Cohen, TJ, Jones, BG, Jansen, JD & May, J, Climate change in the dead heart of Australia, Key Concepts in Geomorphology, 2009, pp. online-online, Burlington, VT : The University of Vermont. ( Report )


Despite the absence of large-scale glaciation, the Australian continent has experienced substantial environmental change throughout the Quaternary period. This is especially pronounced in central Australia, where one seventh of the continent is drained internally to the depocentre, and lowest point in Australia, Lake Eyre (Figure 1). Research has shown that at one time, large sandy braided and meandering rivers carried water through dunefields to a large freshwater lake system. Today, the rivers are hostage to the dunefield, and floodwaters might only reach Lake Eyre once every ten years or so. In order to understand the development of this arid desert landscape, and how changing climates have affected it, we need to find out when rivers and dunes were active, and how they are related to each other.