Late holocene fluvial change in a tufa-depositing stream

Davys Creek, New South Wales, Australia

Karen Carthew, Russell Drysdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Tufas are constructional landforms composed of calcium carbonate. They are common in karst terrains, and are known worldwide as useful archives of palaeoenvironmental information. In the case of fluvial tufas, these carbonate deposits experience net aggradation when environmental conditions are stable, whilst incision through the deposits occurs when conditions become wetter. In this study, the first of its type in temperate Australia, we used geomorphological and sedimentological evidence preserved in fossil tufas and alluvial terraces to investigate the fluvial history of Davys Creek (NSW, Australia). The nature and timing of fluvial changes along two quasi-independent reaches of the creek were synchronous, suggesting the operation of externally driven processes rather than local internal fluvial adjustments. Following a period of sustained aggradation, rapid incision occurred along the creek between 1500 and 1600 years before present (BP) in response to a shift to a moister climate. This was succeeded by a second major aggradation event (1500 years BP to 150 years BP), then subsequent incision following the arrival of Europeans at 150 years BP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Geographer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Alluvial history
  • Climate change
  • Karst
  • Late Holocene
  • New South Wales
  • River terraces
  • Tufa

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