Publication Details

May, J., Wells, S. G., Cohen, T. J., Marx, S. K., Nanson, G. C. & Baker, S. E. (2015). A soil chronosequence on Lake Mega-Frome beach ridges and its implications for late Quaternary pedogenesis and paleoenvironmental conditions in the drylands of southern Australia. Quaternary Research, 83 (1), 150-165.


The terminal lake systems of central Australia are key sites for the reconstruction of late Quaternary paleoenvironments. Paleoshoreline deposits around these lakes reflect repeated lake filling episodes and such landforms have enabled the establishment of a luminescence-based chronology for filling events in previous studies. Here we present a detailed documentation of the morphology and chemistry of soils developed in four well-preserved beach ridges of late Pleistocene and mid-to-late Holocene age at Lake Callabonna to assess changes in dominant pedogenic processes. All soil profiles contain evidence for the incorporation of eolian-derived material, likely via the formation of desert pavements and vesicular horizons, and limited illuviation due to generally shallow wetting fronts. Even though soil properties in the four studied profiles also provide examples of parent material influence or site-specific processes related to the geomorphic setting, there is an overall trend of increasing enrichment of eolian-derived material since at least ~ 33 ka. Compared to the Holocene profiles, the derived average accumulation rates for the late Pleistocene profiles are significantly lower and may suggest that soils record important regional changes in paleoenvironments and dust dynamics related to shifts in the Southern Hemisphere westerlies.

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