Pleistocene uplift and palaeoenvironments of Macquarie Island

evidence from palaeobeaches and sedimentary deposits

D. A. Adamson*, P. M. Selkirk, D. M. Price, N. Ward, J. M. Selkirk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


Macquarie Island (54°30′S, 159°00′E) is an emergent part of the Macquarie Ridge Complex. A number of landforms, including palaeobeaches now above sea level were formed by marine erosion during uplift of the island. Two lines of evidence are considered: direct dating of raised beaches by the thermoluminescence method, and cross-matching of the world sea-level sequence with the altitudinal sequence of beaches. An average rate of uplift for the island of 0.8 mma-1 is calculated. At this rate, 4000 m of Macquarie Ridge uplift would have taken about five million years and the top of the island may first have emerged some 700 to 600 ka. During the six Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles since then, there has been periglacial rather than glacial activity on cold uplands, but conditions suitable for vegetation of the present type persisted close to sea level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalPapers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996



  • Macquarie Island
  • Macquarie Ridge
  • uplift
  • raised beaches
  • palaeo beaches
  • thermoluminescence dating
  • Pleistocene

Cite this