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River stabilisation due to changing climate and vegetation during the late Quaternary in western Tasmania, Australia

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The Stanley River in western Tasmania, Australia, contains sub-fossil rainforest logs within the channel and floodplain. Of the more than 85 radiocarbon dates obtained, all but 3 date from 17 ka to the present and permit an interpretation of fluvial and related environmental changes over this period. Particular attention is focused on the interactive relationship between the river and its riparian rainforest. Following the Last Glacial Maximum, the Stanley River was a laterally active gravel-load system reworking most of its valley floor in the upstream reaches. With ameliorating conditions at the end of the Pleistocene, climate became less seasonal and flow regimes less energetic. Huon pines already present in the catchment, re-asserted themselves in the form of dense tree cover along the river banks and floodplains with basal floodplain deposition shifting from gravels to coarse sands and granules. By about 3.5 ka, a further change in climate reduced stream discharges substantially. As a result the channel reduced in size, transported finer sediment, became laterally stable, and the floodplain accreted with overbank deposits of sand and silt. Huon pines falling into the channel formed obstructions of woody debris, some surviving for 2 ka. These have reduced stream power and boundary shear stress, further contributing to channel stability. Generational sequences of Huon pines on the river banks, some extending back 1-2 ka, are additional evidence of this stability. Since the Pleistocene, changing climate and the re-establishment of dense riparian rainforest appear to have stabilised the river channels and floodplains of western Tasmania. © 1995.

Publication Date


  • 1995

Citation


  • Nanson, G. C., Barbetti, M., & Taylor, G. (1995). River stabilisation due to changing climate and vegetation during the late Quaternary in western Tasmania, Australia. Geomorphology, 13(1-4), 145-158. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(95)00040-C

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0029503924

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 145

End Page


  • 158

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 1-4

Abstract


  • The Stanley River in western Tasmania, Australia, contains sub-fossil rainforest logs within the channel and floodplain. Of the more than 85 radiocarbon dates obtained, all but 3 date from 17 ka to the present and permit an interpretation of fluvial and related environmental changes over this period. Particular attention is focused on the interactive relationship between the river and its riparian rainforest. Following the Last Glacial Maximum, the Stanley River was a laterally active gravel-load system reworking most of its valley floor in the upstream reaches. With ameliorating conditions at the end of the Pleistocene, climate became less seasonal and flow regimes less energetic. Huon pines already present in the catchment, re-asserted themselves in the form of dense tree cover along the river banks and floodplains with basal floodplain deposition shifting from gravels to coarse sands and granules. By about 3.5 ka, a further change in climate reduced stream discharges substantially. As a result the channel reduced in size, transported finer sediment, became laterally stable, and the floodplain accreted with overbank deposits of sand and silt. Huon pines falling into the channel formed obstructions of woody debris, some surviving for 2 ka. These have reduced stream power and boundary shear stress, further contributing to channel stability. Generational sequences of Huon pines on the river banks, some extending back 1-2 ka, are additional evidence of this stability. Since the Pleistocene, changing climate and the re-establishment of dense riparian rainforest appear to have stabilised the river channels and floodplains of western Tasmania. © 1995.

Publication Date


  • 1995

Citation


  • Nanson, G. C., Barbetti, M., & Taylor, G. (1995). River stabilisation due to changing climate and vegetation during the late Quaternary in western Tasmania, Australia. Geomorphology, 13(1-4), 145-158. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(95)00040-C

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0029503924

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 145

End Page


  • 158

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 1-4