A New Paper about Alluvial Plain Morphology and Sedimentary Characteristics!

A new paper is just published in the Journal of Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. The paper is entitled: "Evolution from estuary to delta: Alluvial plain morphology and sedimentary characteristics of the Shoalhaven River mouth, southeastern Australia".

Carvalho and Woodroffe, 2020


The Shoalhaven River in southern New South Wales (NSW) drains a catchment of ~7000 km2, forming a barrier estuary at its mouth with a prograded strandplain to its north. Previous coring and dating across the floodplain and adjacent strandplain indicate progressive infill of the estuarine basin over the past 7000 years. Over this time the system transitioned from a wave-dominated estuary to a wave-dominated delta. The Shoalhaven River appears to have initially discharged to the sea at Crookhaven Heads, until it adopted a more direct route through an intermittently open mouth at Shoalhaven Heads; construction of Berrys Canal in 1822 now permanently links the Shoalhaven River to the adjacent smaller Crookhaven River.

Airborne LiDAR reveals details of topography of prominent levees and meander scroll bars that flank the lower reaches of the river and beach/foredune ridges to the north. Sedimentological and mineralogical characteristics of modern sediment samples collected from the river channel, the beach, and the barrier reveal that the Shoalhaven River is dominated by quartz sand along its predominantly straight course through the infilled estuarine plains.


Grain size decreases with distance alongshore from the river mouth indicating that these sands are transported north by longshore drift to augment a gradual onshore delivery of sand within this coastal compartment. Scanning electron microscopy of selected grains implies that this fluvial sand has been contributing to incremental formation of beach ridges for much of the past 3000 years since the estuarine basin has been largely infilled, with a slight detectable acceleration in the rate of progradation.


This publication is lead by our DU Marine Mapping Group member Rafael C. Carvalho.

Congrats Rafael!

To read the full article, click here.

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