A Late Pleistocene and Holocene pollen record from Lake Terang, Western Plains of Victoria, Australia

D. M. D'Costa, A. P. Kershaw

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    Analyses of pollen and charcoal from lake and swamp deposits accumulated in a maar crater are used to reconstruct palaeoenvironments at and around Terang, Western Victoria. Changes in the nature of the sediments and in aquatic and dryland pollen indicate substantial climatic variation within the recorded period. Pollen assemblages indicate changes from open woodland, herbfield and grassland to wet sclerophyll forest, and from ephemeral swamp to permanent lake and swamp conditions within the basin. A possible timescale for the Lake Terang sequence is inferred from comparison with the better dated, nearby Lake Wangoom sequence and with the deep sea core record. The Terang record is considered to span a large part of the last glacial period and the Holocene, extending the available record of past vegetation and environments from the region by some 25,000 years to around 75,000 yr B.P. Conditions during the earlier part of the last glacial period were cooler and drier than today with open Casuarina woodland predominating in the region. At times, particularly towards the end of this period, conditions are considered to have been more extreme as much of the pollen is oxidised. A major interstadial, whose termination is tentatively dated at about 48,000 yr B.P. was dominated by Eucalyptus forest under effective precipitation levels similar to those of today. The latter part of the last glacial period is considered to have been cold and dry although no pollen is preserved except during a short phase of amelioration, probably around 39,000 yr B.P. The Holocene has been characterised by mixed Casuarina and Eucalyptus woodland and forest until recent changes brought about by European people. Fire has been a constant feature of the environment and its influence on changing vegetation patterns cannot be determined with certainty.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-67
    Number of pages11
    JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995

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