Abstract

The Hawkesbury Sandstone has long been assumed to represent the deposits of a large braided river system, comparable in style and magnitude with the modern Brahmaputra River of Bangladesh. Such an interpretation is based mainly on the common occurrence of very large-scale crossbedding, but no architectural studies of the unit have hitherto been carried out. This paper represents a first attempt to estimate the magnitude of Hawkesbury channels and bars on the basis of the preserved architectural evidence. Photomosaics were constructed of two cliff sections south of Sydney, one 5.6 km in length. On the basis of these profiles we estimate that characteristic channel-scale architectural elements are at least 2.7 km wide, and individual macroforms are 5-10 m high, indicating the constructional depth of typical channels. Hollow elements (scoop-shaped units interpreted to have formed at channel confluences) are up to 20 m deep. These magnitudes are large, but measurably smaller that those of channels and bars in the modern Brahmaputra River of Bangladesh.

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