The morphology and geomorphic evolution of a large chain-of-ponds river system

Rory T. Williams, Kirstie A. Fryirs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Rivers with discontinuous watercourses are part of the spectrum of river diversity. Chain-of-ponds types contain irregularly spaced, steep-sided ponds that are separated by preferential flow paths on swampy valley fill. They often contain endangered ecological communities and are receiving greater attention for conservation and restoration. Very little is known about how these river types form, how they have evolved and how they function. Here we present the Late-Quaternary evolution of one of the last remaining large-scale chain-of-ponds systems in Australia, the Mulwaree Ponds. The chain-of-ponds was fully formed by 4.5 ka, with the position and alignment of the ponds being related to the position of pools of a palaeo-river that is up to 100 ka old. Contemporary hydrogeomorphic processes are insufficient to create the ponds, but sufficient to maintain and keep them open. The phases of evolution for this chain-of-ponds system are synchronous with Late-Quaternary changes in fluvial activity documented for other rivers in southeastern Australia. The ponds at Mulwaree have significant preservation potential over thousands of years. In the current landscape they are rare forms, providing significant grounds for conservation and protection of their distinctive geodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1732-1748
Number of pages17
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020


  • Quaternary
  • discontinuous watercourse
  • geodiversity
  • isolated wetland
  • river conservation

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    Upland swamps and chains-of-ponds as unique and rare Australian river types: Understanding their function

    Fryirs, K., Hose, G., Adams, R., Smith, A., PhD Contribution (ARC), P. C. (. & MQRES, M.


    Project: Research

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