UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Forbes Ms;Bestland Ea;
Origin of the sedimentary deposits of the naracoorte caves, south australia
Geomorphology
0
The origin of the sediments located in the Naracoorte Caves (South Australia) was investigated via the analysis of strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr), elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy. Sedimentary deposits located in Robertson, Wet, Blanche and several other chambers in Victoria Cave are all variable mixes of fine sand and coarse silts, which display similar and consistent strontium isotope ratios (0.717-0.725). This suggests that over the 400[no-break space]ka time frame that these deposits span there has been minimal variation in the source of the clastic sediments. Increased strontium concentrations for these cave sediments correspond with increasing silt content, yet there is no correlation between 87Sr/86Sr ratios and silt content. This implies that the silt-sized component of the sediments is the main contributor of strontium to the cave sediments. Comparisons of 87Sr/86Sr with regional surficial deposits show a significant correlation between the cave sediments (avg: 0.7228; n = 27), the fine silt lunettes of the Bool Lagoon area (avg: 0.7224; n = 4), the sandy A horizons of the Coonawarra Red Brown Earths (RBEs; avg: 0.726; n = 5), and Holocene age podsolic sand deposits (0.723). These data suggest that there has been substantial flux from this group of deposits to the caves, as would be expected considering prevailing winds. This relationship is further supported by a strong correlation between many trace elements, including Ti, Zr, Ce, and Y; however, variations in clay mineralogy suggest that the fine silt-dominated lunettes and Padthaway RBEs were not significant contributors to the cave deposits. Hence, the detritus entering the caves was more than likely from areas proximal to the cave entrance and was dominated by medium grain-sized materials. Major regional deposits, including the coarser-grained, calcite-rich Bridgewater Formation sands, basalts from the lower SE, Padthaway Horst granites, Gambier limestone, and metamorphics from the Adelaide geosyncline show minimal correlation in 87Sr/86Sr ratios, elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy with the cave sediments, and are discounted as significant sources. In comparison, 87Sr/86Sr ratios for the Coorong silty sands (0.717-0.724), Lower Murray sands (0.727-0.730), and the medium size silt component of the Murray-Darling River system (0.71-0.72), compare favourably with the cave sediments. This relationship is further supported by similarities in elemental chemistry and mineralogy. Thus, much of the strontium-rich silt that is now located in the Naracoorte Cave sediments likely originated from the Murray-Darling basin. Over time, this material has been transported to the SE of South Australia, where it mixed with the medium sand component of the regressive dune ridge sequence, locally derived organic matter, limestone fragments, and fossil material to produce the unique deposits that we see evident in many of the chambers of the Naracoorte Cave system today
AGE;AREA;AREAS;Australia;BASIN;CAVE;cave deposits;cave sediments;cave system;caves;CHAMBER;CHAMBERS;CHEMISTRY;CLAY;clay mineralogy;correlation;DEPOSIT;DEPOSITS;DETRITUS;elements;FLUX;FLUXES;fossil;GEOCHEMISTRY;GRANITE;HOLOCENE;ISOTOPE;LIMESTONE;MATTER;MEDIA;mineralogy;Murray basin;Naracoorte;Naracoorte Cave sediments;organic matter;ORGANIC-MATTER;ORIGIN;RATIO;RATIOS;RIDGE;RIVER;SAND;SEDIMENT;SEDIMENTARY;SEDIMENTS;SEQUENCE;SIZE;source;SOUTH;South Australia;SOUTH-AUSTRALIA;STRONTIUM;Strontium isotope;strontium isotopes;SYSTEM;TIME;trace elements;TRACE-ELEMENT;TRACE-ELEMENTS;variation;VICTORIA;WET;WIND;ZR;
origin-sedimentary-deposits-naracoorte-caves-south-australia_sekaID-6759