Abstract

In recent years, Australian studies of relative sea-level change have shown reasonable consistency on the termination date of the postglacial marine transgression at c. 6,500 14 C years BP. The following "stillstand" period has been characterized in some regions by a slight falling trend from a high stand, or in other areas by a level not easily distinguished from the present. The latter situation occurs on the embayed coast of New South Wales. Here studies of depositional environments and sequences within bed-rock embayments have linked the Holocene sea-level history to patterns of sedimentation on the inner shelf, in bay barriers and in estuaries. Deposition of quartz-rich sand in shoreface, flood-tidal delta and backbarrier environments occurred during the marine transgression, and the subsequent "stillstand." Shell fragments from these deposits have been radiocarbon dated. Shoreline displacement continues to the present day, partly in response to changes in availability of sand in the shoreface zone, and partly in response to variations in regional storminess patterns. "[A]nd the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago." HERMAN MELVILLE, (sub BR (super Moby Dick

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