Holocene valley aggradation driven by river mouth progradation: examples from Australia
Since the end of the post-glacial sea level rise 6800 years ago, progradation of river mouths into estuaries has been a global phenomenon. The responses of upstream alluvial river reaches to this progradation have received little attention. Here, the links between river mouth progradation and Holocene valley aggradation are examined for the Macdonald and Tuross Rivers in south-eastern Australia. Optical and radiocarbon dating of floodplain sediments indicates that since the mid-Holocene sea level highstand 6800 years ago vertical floodplain aggradation along the two valleys has generally been consistent with the rate at which each river prograded into its estuary. This link between river mouth progradation and alluvial aggradation drove floodplain aggradation for many tens of kilometres upstream of the estuarine limits. Both rivers have abandoned their main Holocene floodplains over the last 2000 years and their channels have contracted. A regional shift to smaller floods is inferred to be responsible for this change, though a greater relative sea level fall experienced by the Macdonald River since the mid-Holocene sea level highstand appears to have been an additional influence upon floodplain evolution in this valley.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution