A high-resolution record of fluvial, aeolian and lacustrine deposits of Late Pleistocene age is exposed along the Neales Cliff in the lower reaches of the Nappamurra-Neales River, western Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (KT-LE). Five major stratigraphic units reflect a variety of changes in sedimentary processes, depositional environments and hence palaeo-lake level fluctuations. This detailed record of a dryland terrestrial sedimentary succession in the northern part of KT-LE enables comparison to contemporaneous sequences in the southern part of KT-LE. The sedimentary record from the Neales Cliff area is placed into a continental stratigraphic framework, in which changes in sediment accumulation and depositional style are linked to climatically driven palaeo-lake level fluctuations independent of eustatic sea-level changes. Following the ~200 ka interglacial maximum, a drying-up systems tract is represented by a fluvial fining-upward trend, capped by palaeosols. A wettening-up systems tract followed, when lake level rose to +10 m AHD during the last interglacial, resulting in a lacustrine succession but punctuated by regular desiccation events. During the following drying-up systems tract, progressive lake-level fall resulted in deep incision around 100 ka, followed by enhanced fluvial deposition of fine-grained sediments. A brief rise in base level resulted in a wettening-up systems tract comprising a thin veneer of fluvial/alluvial sediments followed by extensive dune build-up and desert pavement development during the Last Glacial Maximum. Subsequent lake level fall to the present lake level of −15 m AHD, resulted in deep incision of up to 10 m by the modern day Nappamurra-Neales River.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2022|