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  • This paper presents a new style of bedload parting from western Torres Strait, northern Australia. Outputs from a hydrodynamic model identified an axis of bedload parting centred on the western Torres Strait islands (~142°15"E). Unlike bedload partings described elsewhere in the literature, those in Torres Strait are generated by incoherence between two adjacent tidal regimes as opposed to overtides. Bedload parting is further complicated by the influence of wind-driven currents. During the trade wind season, wind-driven currents counter the reversing tidal currents to a point where peak currents are directed west. The eastwards-directed bedload pathway is only active during the monsoon season. Satellite imagery was used to describe six bedform facies associated with the bedload parting. Bedform morphology was used to indicate sediment supply. Contrary to bedload partings elsewhere, sand ribbons are a distal facies within the western bedload transport pathway despite peak currents directed toward the west throughout the year. This indicates that sediment is preferentially trapped within sand banks near the axis of parting and not transported further west into the Gulf of Carpentaria or Arafura Sea.

  • A symposium was held at the University of Wales, Swansea in July 2007 to honour the career and achievements of Professor Michael Collins. The symposium was organised by Michael's former postgraduate students as a tribute to his contributions over the past 30 years as a scientist, teacher, mentor and friend. About 30 of the 50+ Ph.D. and M.Sc. students that Michael has supervised over the years were fortunate to attend the symposium, which offered the opportunity for all of us to learn about the many different subjects and projects that Michael supervised and to renew our friendships with the Collins family, as well as the extended, academic Collins 'family'.

  • This study explored the full potential of high-resolution multibeam data for an automatic and accurate mapping of complex seabed under a predictive modelling framework. Despite of the extremely complex distributions of various hard substrata at the inner-shelf of the study area, we achieved a nearly perfect prediction of 'hard vs soft' classification with an AUC close to 1.0. The predictions were also satisfactory for four out of five sediment properties, with R2 values range from 0.55 to 0.73. In general, this study demonstrated that both bathymetry and backscatter information (from the multibeam data) should be fully utilised to maximise the accuracy of seabed mapping. From the modelled relationships between sediment properties and multibeam data, we found that coarser sediment generally generates stronger backscatter return and that deeper water with its low energy favours the deposition of mud content. Sorting was also found to be a better sediment composite property than mean grain size. In addition, the results proved one again the advantages of applying proper feature extraction approaches over original backscatter angular response curves.

  • The Lower Darling Valley (LDV) Cenozoic sequence contains Paleogene and Neogene shallow marine and shoreline as well as fluvial and shoreline sediments overlain by Quaternary lacustrine, aeolian and fluvial units. Recent investigations in the LDV using multiple datasets have provided new insights into the nature of post-Blanchetown Clay Quaternary fluvial deposition which differs to the Mallee and Riverine Plain regions elsewhere in the Murray Basin. In the LDV Quaternary fluvial sequence, multiple scroll-plain tracts are incised into higher, older and more featureless floodplain terrain. Prior to this study, these were respectively correlated to the Coonambidgal and Shepparton Formations of the Riverine Plain in the eastern Murray Basin. These formations were originally associated with the subsequently discarded Prior Stream/Ancestral River chronosequence of different climatically controlled depositional styles. In contrast to that suggestion, we ascribe all LDV Quaternary fluvial deposition to lateral-migration depositional phases of one style, though with variable stream discharges and channel and meander-scroll dimensions. Successively higher overbank-mud deposition through time obscures scroll traces and provides the main ongoing morphologic difference. A new morphostratigraphic unit, the Menindee Formation, refers to mostly older and higher floodplain sediments, where scroll traces are obscured by overbank mud which continues to be deposited by the highest modern floods. Younger inset scroll-plain tracts, with visible scroll-plain traces, are still referred to as the Coonambidgal Formation. Another new stratigraphic unit, the Willotia beds, refers to even older fluvial sediments, now above modern floodplain levels and mostly covered by aeolian sediments.

  • During the Quaternary, the Mac. Robertson shelf of East Antarctica was deeply eroded by glaciers and currents exposing the underlying basement, resulting in a scalped shelf.

  • Two sediment cores collected from beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica describe the physical sedimentation patterns beneath an existing major embayed ice shelf. Core AM01b was collected from a site of basal freezing, contrasting with core AM02, collected from a site of basal melting. Both cores comprise Holocene siliceous muddy ooze (SMO), however, AM01b also recovered interbedded siliciclastic mud, sand and gravel with inclined bedding in its lower 27 cm. This interval indicates an episode of variable but strong current activity before SMO sedimentation became dominant. 14C ages corrected for old surface ages are consistent with previous dating of marine sediments in Prydz Bay. However, the basal age of AM01b of 28250 ± 230 14C yr bp probably results from greater contamination by recycled organic matter. Lithology, 14C surface ages, absolute diatom abundance, and the diatom assemblage are used as indicators of sediment transport pathways beneath the ice shelf. The transport pathways suggested from these indicators do not correspond to previous models of the basal melt/freeze pattern. This indicates that the overturning baroclinic circulation beneath the Amery Ice Shelf (near-bed inflow-surface outflow) is a more important influence on basal melt/freeze and sediment distributions than the barotropic circulation that produces inflow in the east and outflow in the west of the ice front. Localized topographic (ice draft and bed elevation) variations are likely to play a dominant role in the resulting sub-ice shelf melt and sediment distribution.

  • Widespread seagrass dieback in central Torres Strait, Australia has been anecdotally linked to the delivery of vast quantities of terrigenous sediments from New Guinea. The composition and distribution, and sedimentological and geochemical properties, of seabed and suspended sediments in north and central Torres Strait have been determined to investigate this issue. In northern Torres Strait, next to Saibai Island, seabed sediments comprise poorly sorted, muddy, mixed calcareous-siliciclastic sand. Seabed sediments in this region are dominated by aluminosilicate (terrigenous) phases. In central Torres Strait, next to Turnagain Island, seabed and suspended sediments comprise moderately sorted coarse to medium carbonate sand. Seabed sediments in this region are dominated by carbonate and magnesium (marine) phases. Mean Cu/Al ratios for seabed sediments next to Saibai Island are 0.01, and are similar to those found in New Guinea south coastal sediments by previous workers. Mean Cu/Al ratios for seabed sediments next to Turnagain Island are 0.02, indicating an enrichment of Cu in central Torres Strait. This enrichment comes from an exogenous biogenic source, principally from foraminifers and molluscs. We could not uniquely trace terrigenous sediments from New Guinea to Turnagain Island in central Torres Strait. If sediments are a factor in the widespread seagrass dieback in central Torres Strait, then our data suggest these are marine-derived sediments sourced from resuspension and advection from the immediate shelf areas and not terrigenous sediments dispersed from New Guinea rivers. This finding is consistent with outputs from recently developed regional hydrodynamic and sediment transport models.

  • Recent centuries provide no precedent for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, either on the coasts it devastated or within its source area. The tsunami claimed nearly all of its victims on shores that had gone 200 years or more without a tsunami disaster. The associated earthquake of magnitude 9.2 defied a Sumatra-Andaman catalogue that contains no nineteenth-century or twentieth-century earthquake larger than magnitude 7.9. The tsunami and the earthquake together resulted from a fault rupture 1,500 km long that expended centuries -worth of plate convergence. Here, using sedimentary evidence for tsunamis, we identify probable precedents for the 2004 tsunami at a grassy beach-ridge plain 125 km north of Phuket. The 2004 tsunami, running 2 km across this plain, coated the ridges and intervening swales with a sheet of sand commonly 5-20 cm thick. The peaty soils of two marshy swales preserve the remains of several earlier sand sheets less than 2,800 years old. If responsible for the youngest of these pre-2004 sand sheets, the most recent full-size predecessor to the 2004 tsunami occurred about 550-700 years ago.

  • The Perth Basin formed as part of an obliquely-oriented extensional rift system on Australia's southwestern margin during the Paleozoic to Mesozoic breakup of eastern Gondwana. The Houtman Sub-basin is situated in the offshore portion of the northern Perth Basin, located about 200 km northwest of Perth. It is an elongate, northwest-southeast trending depocentre containing up to 14 km of Early Triassic to Late Jurassic sedimentary strata. A detailed sequence stratigraphic study has been undertaken on the three wells in the Houtman Sub-basin: Gun Island 1, Houtman 1 and Charon 1. The purpose of this study was to investigate facies variations between the wells to gain a better understanding of potential source, reservoir and seal distribution and to assist regional palaeogeographic reconstructions of the Perth Basin. The study focussed on the Early-Late Jurassic succession comprising the Cattamarra Coal Measures, Cadda Formation and Yarragadee Formation. Wireline log character, cuttings, sidewall core and conventional core lithologies and palynological data were used to identify facies and paleoenvironments. Palynology for all wells has been reviewed, including new data collected by Geoscience Australia for Gun Island 1 and Charon 1. Facies stacking patterns were used to define systems tracts and subsequently ten third-order depositional sequences. Collectively these sequences define a larger scale, second-order (supersequence) transgressive-regressive cycle. The Cattamarra Sequence Set forms a regional transgression which culminates in an extensive marine maximum flooding event within the Cadda Sequence Set. These sequence sets are followed by the regressive highstand Yarragadee Sequence Set. The third-order sequences characterised in this study overprint this supersequence and control the local distribution of facies. The combined influence of these third- and second-order sequences on facies distribution has significant implications for the distribution of potential reservoirs and seals, particularly in the northern Houtman Sub-basin where well and seismic data are relatively sparse.

  • The National Geochemical Survey of Australia: The Geochemical Atlas of Australia was published in July 2011. Released along with this publication was a digital copy of the geochemical dataset that included basic particle size data. This dataset includes extended particle size data for NGSA samples.