Evolution of Quaternary duricrusts in Karinga creek drainage system, central Australian groundwater discharge zone

A. V. Arakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Quaternary calcrete, silcrete and gypcrete duricrusts in Karinga Creek drainage system, central Australia, contain abundant late-stage diagenetic features. These indicate repeated episodes of dissolution, precipitation and mobilization of duricrust components in the landscape, following the initial development of the duricrust mantle. ‘Mature’ duricrust profiles incorporate assemblages of diagnostic textural features and fabrics that clearly indicate the extent of karstification during the past 27 000 years. Diagenetic features in the duricrusts permit recognition of the stages involved in vadose modifications of compositional, textural and morphological features and, hence, assessment of the impact of karst dissolution, precipitation and mobilization of duricrust components under prevailing environmental conditions. At landscape level, the continued development of secondary porosity-permeability zones in topographically elevated areas, and maintenance of effective topographic gradients for soil creep are considered essential for redistribution of duricrust components and lateral and vertical extension of karSt features within the Quaternary duricrust mantle. Although developing over a comparatively short span of time, late-stage modification of the Quaternary duricrusts has important implications for evolution of Quaternary landscapes and distribution of groundwater discharge-recharge patterns. Accordingly, differential dissolution and reprecipitation within the duricrust profiles have progressively given way to development of karst solution pipes and cavities, with the latter now acting as effective conduits for recharge of local aquifers in the region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-347
    Number of pages15
    JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1991

    Keywords

    • Calcrete
    • Central Australia
    • Groundwater discharge zone
    • Gypcrete
    • Quaternary duricrust
    • Silcrete

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