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Origin of sandplains in Western Australia: a review of the debate and some recent findings

Newsome, D. (2000) Origin of sandplains in Western Australia: a review of the debate and some recent findings. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 47 (4). pp. 695-706.

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Views on the origin of sandplains in Western Australia remain controversial with debate focusing around three different models of formation. These are in situ, aeolian and in situ formation with local remobilisation by wind or colluvial transport. The only recent work on the subject to date espouses a dominantly aeolian origin. New work from a detailed study on the Victoria Plateau is described and demonstrates the applicability of utilising a range of evidence in understanding the origin of sandplains in Western Australia. Field investigations show a strong association of sandplain with sandstone and an absence of sand on non-arenaceous geology in similar and adjacent topographic settings. Grainsize, mineral magnetic analysis and heavy-mineral spectra show the Victoria Plateau to be a heterogeneous body of sand. These findings coupled with a lack of internal sedimentary structures are not consistent with an aeolian origin for the sandplain. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy, grainsize and heavy minerals also demonstrate a clear link between bedrock and overlying sandplain. These data support the hypothesis that Western Australian sandplains are mostly the product of in situ weathering. Such findings question whether the origin of sandplains can be satisfactorily deduced without such a range of data.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: (c) Taylor & Francis
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