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The Holocene evolution of Rheban Spit, Tasmania. Age structure, geomorphic development and sediment characteristics


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Bowman, GM (1986) The Holocene evolution of Rheban Spit, Tasmania. Age structure, geomorphic development and sediment characteristics. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 120. pp. 23-32. ISSN 0080-4703

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Rheban Spit is a small prograded sand barrier located on the east coast of Tasmania in the lee of Maria
Island. It consists of four disconformable sets of beach ridges. Shallow drilling at seven sites towards the eastern end of
the spit yielded sediment samples formineralogic and granulometric analyses and detrital shell for radiocarbon dating.
The latter indicates that the three oldest sets of ridges were formed about 5500,4200 and 3 100 calendar years ago,
the youngest set is known to have formed this century.
This age structure is unusual for a coastal barrier in eastern Australia because most started to prograde at the end of
the Postglacial Marine Transgression (c. 7000 calendar years ago) and ceased about 2000 years ago. Rheban Spit has
been severely eroded by northeasterly waves during its forma tion, probably as a result of periods of increased storminess
in the Tasman Sea. If the sand isthmus between north and south Maria Island was also removed during these episodes,
wave refraction/ diffraction and sediment movement patterns near the eastern end of Rheban Spit would have changed
significantly and this may account for the disconformable nature of the successive sets of beach ridges which form the

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 23-32
ISSN: 0080-4703
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania

Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 03:54
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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