The southeast Australian dust transport corridor is the principal pathway through which continental emissions of dust from central and eastern Australia are carried to the oceans by the prevailing mid-latitude westerly circulation. The analysis of trace elements of aeolian dust, preserved in lake sediment on North Stradbroke Island, southeast Queensland, is used to reconstruct variation in the intensity and position of dust transport to the island over the past 25,000 yrs. Separation of local and long traveled dust content of lake sediments is achieved using a unique, four-element (Ga, Ni, Tl and Sc) separation method. The local and continental chronologies of aeolian deposition developed by this study show markedly different records, and indicate varied responses to climate variability on North Stradbroke Island (local aeolian sediment component) and in eastern and central Australia (long traveled dust component). The provenance of the continental component of the record to sub-geologic catchment scales was accomplished using a ternary mixing model in which the chemical identification of dusts extracted, from the lake sediments, was compared to potential chemical characteristics of surface dust from the source areas using 16 trace elements. The results indicate that the position and intensity of dust transport pathways during the late Quaternary varied considerably in response to changing atmospheric circulation patterns as well as to variations in sediment supply to dust source areas, which include the large anabranching river systems of the Lake Eyre and Murray–Darling Basins.
Geomorphology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2009
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