The study of desert dunes in Australia
Most of the early explorers were bewildered by the features they encountered in the Australian deserts, but Sturt's observations led him to speculate on the origin of the sand ridges that were so much a part of his desert experience. Scientific investigations of the dunes, however, awaited the twentieth century. In the 1930s Madigan made signal contributions to the understanding of the features, but he also raised as many problems as he resolved. Post-war investigations by King and those due to Wopfner, initially related but incidental to the search of oil and gas, have done much to clarify the dynamics of dune development. More recently, luminescence dating has allowed the sand ridges, as well as periods of lake fill and alluviation, to be dated with some confidence. Chronological research has been extended to include the major palaeodunefields of southern Australia.
Figures & Tables
This book deals with various interesting aspects of the histories of geomorphology and Quaternary geology in different parts of the world. The papers cover a range of topics: the origin of the term ‘Quaternary’, histories of ideas and debates relating to aspects of fluvial geomorphology (USA and Australia), glacial geomorphology and glaciation (Northern Europe, the Baltic countries, Russia, Iceland, and New Zealand), desert dunes and the geology of Australia, peneplains in China, a palaeo-Tokyo Bay in Japan, together with biographies of Charles Cotton (New Zealand), Valerija Čepulytė (Lithuania) and Česlovas Pakuckas (Lithuania and Poland) that highlight their respective contributions to the disciplines of geomorphology and Quaternary geology. There is an autobiographical contribution from E. E. Milanovsky (Russia) on his work in Siberia, the Caucasus and Iceland, illustrated by his sketches made in the field.