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Revised stratigraphy of the Blanchetown Clay, Murray Basin: age constraints on the evolution of paleo Lake Bungunnia

journal contribution
posted on 2009-03-01, 00:00 authored by S McLaren, M Wallace, B Pillans, S Gallagher, J Miranda, Mark WarneMark Warne
Paleo Lake Bungunnia covered more than 40 000 km2 of southern Australia during the Plio-Pleistocene, although the age and origin of the lake remain controversial. The Blanchetown Clay is the main depositional unit and outcrop at Nampoo Station in far-western New South Wales provides the most continuous lacustrine section preserved in the basin. Here the Blanchetown Clay represents the maximum lake fill and comprises: (i) a basal well-sorted sand with interbedded clay (Chowilla Sand), representing initial flooding at the time of lake formation; (ii) a thick sequence of green-grey clay comprised dominantly of kaolinite and illite, with the apparently cyclic occurrence of illite interpreted to represent cool and dry glacial climatic intervals; and (iii) a 2.6 m-thick sequence of finely laminated silt and silty clay, here defined as the Nampoo Member of the Blanchetown Clay. New magnetostratigraphic data constrain the age of the oldest lake sediments to be younger than 2.581 Ma (Matuyama-Gauss boundary) and probably as young as 2.4 Ma. This age is significantly younger than the age of 3.2 Ma previously suggested for lake formation. The youngest Blanchetown Clay is older than 0.781 Ma (Brunhes-Matuyama boundary) and probably as old as 1.2 Ma. The Nampoo Station section provides a framework for the construction of a regional Plio-Pleistocene stratigraphy in the Murray Basin.

History

Journal

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences

Volume

56

Pagination

259-270

Location

Abingdon, England

ISSN

1440-0952

eISSN

1440-0952

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Taylor & Francis

Issue

2

Publisher

Taylor & Francis