Peesey Swamp—a Last Interglacial (MIS 5e) marine corridor across southern Yorke Peninsula, southern Australia

Publication Name

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences


Peesey Swamp on southern Yorke Peninsula, southern Australia, is a north-northwesterly—south-southeasterly trending lowland depression, approximately 24 km long and 4 to 10 km wide. The richly fossiliferous mollusc and foraminiferal faunal assemblages of the last interglacial Glanville Formation in Peesey Swamp indicate that the paleoenvironment was a low- to medium-energy, sheltered sandflat to shallow-water seaway during the Last Interglacial Maximum (Marine Isotope Substage [MIS] 5e; 128–116 ka). The presence of the fossil bivalve molluscs Katelysia rhytiphora, Chlamys (Equichlamys) bifrons and Fulvia tenuicostata, in life position, indicate that the paleowater depth was ≤4 m in Peesey Swamp. The seaway cut across southern Yorke Peninsula, establishing a marine connection between southern Spencer Gulf and Investigator Strait during deposition of these taxa. Amino acid racemisation dating of the fossil marine molluscs Katelysia sp. and Fulvia tenuicostata confirms that the shelly assemblages at Peesey Swamp are correlative with the last interglacial Glanville Formation, a succession of richly fossiliferous, mixed quartz–skeletal carbonate sands documented from many sites along the southern Australian coastline. This study illustrates the significant changes in the geographical configuration of coastlines that may accompany relatively modest (<5 m) sea-level changes on low-gradient coastal landscapes.KEY POINTS Peesey Swamp on southern Yorke Peninsula was flooded by seawater forming a 4 to 10 km-wide seaway during the Last Interglacial Maximum (MIS 5e). Fossil mollusc and foraminiferal assemblages reveal deposition within shallow subtidal to intertidal sandflat environments indicating that the paleowater depth and height of sea-level in Peesey Swamp was ≤4 m. Amino acid racemisation dating of fossil marine molluscs confirms that the shelly assemblages at Peesey Swamp are of last interglacial (MIS 5e) age. The distribution of the foraminifer Marginopora vertebralis indicates that the eastward flow of the warm-water Leeuwin Current, during the Last Interglacial Maximum, was retarded by the biogeographical barriers of Kangaroo Island and Fleurieu Peninsula.

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