Using a fluvial archive to place extreme flood sediment (dis)connectivity dynamics in context of a longer-term record

Kirstie A. Fryirs*, Chris Thompson, Damian Gore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to establish the source and provenance of sediments deposited in a large floodplain sink during extreme floods in the Lockyer Creek catchment, Australia, in 2011 and 2013. We place the sediment source patterns in context of the longer-term record to determine whether coarse-grained sediment sources (i.e., very fine sand to very coarse sand) and the spatio-temporal pattern of (dis)connectivity have changed over time. We do this by matching the geochemical properties and age structure of a sediment profile located in a downstream floodplain sink to the elemental composition of source sediments. One hundred and fifty-seven sediment samples from 20 sites across the catchment are analysed using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to compare the elemental ratio composition of the downstream floodplain sink to its source materials. We use Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating to determine the age structure of the sediments in the floodplain sink. The northern tributaries and parts of the Lockyer River trunk stream are the primary sources of coarse sediment. These areas are connected (coupled) to the lower trunk stream and floodplain sediment sink. Southern tributaries are largely disconnected (decoupled) and supply little sediment to the floodplain sediment sink. This pattern of sediment source contribution has remained similar over the last 6.8 ka at least. Sediment sources as observed in the 2011 flood have predominated over the mid-late Holocene whilst those in the 2013 flood are rare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
Issue number4
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Geomorphology
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Sediment provenance
  • Sediment sink
  • Sediment source


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