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Quaternary studies of caves and coasts : a collection of published papers and a critical review

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Goede, A (1998) Quaternary studies of caves and coasts : a collection of published papers and a critical review. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The contents of this volume are not a PhD thesis in the conventional sense in
that they do not represent a single major research theme. When the author
approached the Higher Degree Committee of the University of Tasmania with
the view of counting twenty-nine published papers towards a higher degree,
he was instructed to enrol for a research higher degree (PhD), and to present a
thesis not only containing the publications but critically reviewing them in
the form of a thesis to be completed over a period of not less than one year.
The thesis thus comprises a review of twenty-nine published papers on a
common theme of "Quaternary Studies of Caves and Coasts". Most papers are
concerned with aspects of cave sediments but some are focussed on the
sedimentary history of coasts. For the sake of completeness it was found
necessary to include one paper submitted for publication but not yet published
as well as some unpublished data.
Studies of caves commenced with an investigation of bone-rich deposits,
many of which contained remains of Pleistocene megafauna. The thesis
concentrates on aspects of stratigraphy, dating and interpretation of
depositional environments. Discovery of an archaeological site led to the
realisation that interior valleys of Tasmania had been colonised by aborigines
during the Last Glacial.
Later studies concentrated on the use of speleothems as an information source
on past climates and environments and used analysis of stable isotope ratios
and minor element concentrations to study temporal variations. The study
commenced with a detailed analysis of the isotopic composition of
precipitation and seepage waters - a vital prerequisite. Oxygen isotope
composition of Tasmanian speleothems was found to be not directly
controlled by temperature but by the isotopic composition of winter
precipitation. It is best interpreted as a proxy for mean winter temperature.
Carbon isotope variations are regarded as due predominantly to variations in
plant productivity and appear to be partly controlled by the precessional cycle.
Studies of minor element variations were focussed on magnesium and
strontium with preliminary investigation of uranium and bromine. Strontium isotope analysis was used to show that some of the strontium was
derived from a non-limestone source - probably wind-borne dust derived
from continental shelf areas when sealevels were low. The magnitude of the
dating peak (h3) in electron spin resonance spectra was found to be strongly
correlated with carbon isotope ratios and concentrations of uranium,
magnesium and bromine. The signal has considerable potential as an
indicator of changes in vegetation productivity and/or fire frequency.
Coastal studies commenced with electron spin resonance analysis of marine
gastropod shell from midden sites in sea caves at Klasies River Mouth, South
Africa where the technique was developed as a relative dating method in good
agreement with the cultural and stratigraphic sequence of the sites.
Use of the method continued on coastal deposits in western Victoria,
Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands where it was calibrated against other
dating methods especially amino acid racemisation dating. The Bass Strait
study revealed that King and Flinders Islands had been tectonically uplifted
during the Quaternary as was Tasmania, but uplift began earlier and had
ceased 125,000 years ago.
Age determination is a vital part of Quaternary studies and is reviewed in a
separate chapter. Improvements in dating techniques and calibration during
the review period are discussed and earlier age estimates have been updated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Paleontology, Geology, Stratigraphic, Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology, Stalactites and stalagmites
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:03
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:55
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