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Book Chapter

Sedimentology of the Modern and Holocene Burdekin River Delta of North Queensland, Australia—Controlled by River Output, not by Waves and Tides

By
Christopher R. Fielding
Christopher R. Fielding
Department of Geosciences, 214 Bessey Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0340, U.S.A., e-mail: cfielding2@unl.edu
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Jonathon Trueman
Jonathon Trueman
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Queensland, Queensland 4072, Australia Present address: BP Exploration Operating Co. Ltd., Burnside Road, Farburn Industrial Estate, Dyce, Aberdeen AB2T 7PB, U.K.
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Jan Alexander
Jan Alexander
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

The Burdekin River Delta of northeastern Australia has been described previously as a type example of a wave-dominated delta, or as a “mixed-energy” delta. A reexamination of the geomorphology, sedimentology, and Quaternary stratigraphy herein leads, however, to the conclusion that the Holocene delta has been constructed primarily by flood-related processes. The surface of the upper delta plain is composed dominantly of sand and gravelly sand deposited in channel, paleochannel, and floodplain environments. The lower delta plain, by contrast, comprises a lithologically more diverse array of sands, muds, and chemical and organic sediments deposited in a variety of coastal environments. The lower-delta-plain channel and paleochannel sands are similar in texture to their upper-delta-plain counterparts, whereas deposits of smaller tidal creeks are finer-grained, in many cases muddy sands. Beaches, beach ridges, and spits are composed of well sorted, medium-grained sand, and eolian dune facies are somewhat finer-grained but equally well-sorted sands. Three varieties of coastal flats are recognized (mangrove, salt, and other types), the sediments of which are dominated by mud, typically rich in organic debris, and in some cases microbial mats, with minor sand laminae. Mouth bars are well developed at the present river mouth and throughout the lower delta plain. These bodies are composed of medium to very coarse-grained sand, texturally similar to channel sands, though slightly finer-grained. The narrow delta front comprises a sandy-mouth-bar zone passing distally into a mud-dominated clinoform set extending to -10 m (and only 10 km wide in total). Sharp-based coarse sand bodies of interpreted

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Contents

SEPM Special Publication

River Deltas–Concepts, Models, and Examples

Liviu Giosan
Liviu Giosan
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Janok P. Bhattacharya
Janok P. Bhattacharya
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
83
ISBN electronic:
9781565762190
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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