School of Earth Sciences - Theses

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    Late Paleozoic glaciations of Eastern Australia
    Bowen, Richard L. ( 1959)
    In a re-analysis of the Late Paleozoic glaciations of Eastern Australia, close review of elements of paleogeography results in many new interpretations. New data appear from field studies of the details (including till fabric analyses in the Heathcote District of Victoria) of glacial stratigraphy in drift sequences of Victoria and South Australia. Analysis of sedimentary volumes in Tasmania and analysis of sedimentation during the Upper Carboniferous and Permian of New South Wales and Queensland adds more new information. Field reviews of sequences in the Finke District of the Northern Territory, Tasmania, New South Wales, and Queensland aid in understanding the effects of glaciations in those regions. All data known to the writer from extensive field examinations and review of published data may be incorporated into a unified history of the glacial times. Many lacunae exist, but analogy with studies of Pleistocene glacial drifts helps to bridge some gaps. Principally during the Middle and Upper parts of the Upper Carboniferous and in the Early Permian, highland centers in the northwest of Tasmania (the Macquarie Mountains) and in northeast New South Wales (the Clarencetown Mountains, a volcanic range) became loci for glacial formation and spread. From the former, glaciers spread east, north, and northwest. Upon advancing northwest, the Mt. Lofty-Kangaroo Island Ranges were encountered. These were breached with the establishment of glacial corridors, and a glacial lobe subsequently pushed about 600 miles further north-north-west. In that region, this glacial [?] [?] [?] joined a sheet from Western Australia. Also, in pushing north from the Macquarie Mountains, the glaciers apparently advanced 900+ miles to the Springsure District of Queensland. From the Clarencetown Mountains, piedmont glaciers radiated east (to the sea near Mt. George, Booral, and Limeburner’s Creek), south, and west to fill subsiding basins with glacial deposits and some volcanic effusions. Additionally, some glaciers spread east from the epi-Kanimblan mountains of New South Wales. Thick drift sequences left by these spreading glaciers have been preserved in favourable sites. Fluvial and lacustrine deposits in the drifts demonstrate the presence of interstadial and interglacial conditions, but the entire interval may be considered a single glacial epoch much resembling the Pleistocene, although that of the Late Paleozoic probably was much longer. After wastage of the glaciers, cold weather (at least during winters) persisted, for many phenomena found in the Permian sediments seem best related to climates which were cold at least part of the year. Notable among these are the erratics so widely distributed through the marine Permian sediments of eastern Australia. Such erratics seem best explained as phenomena resulting from the transport by winter ice floes of material eroded from glacial drift left on the land by earlier glaciations.