You and your readers might be interested in a discovery made around Ebor and Guyra just last week, when I was working with a team of glacial buffs from UQ and UT. We found definite evidence of periglacial activity, presumably from the Last Glacial Maximum, ~20 000 years ago. The best examples were at Guyra on the slopes around Malpas Dam -- clear evidence of solifluction lobes, rock glaciers, snow hollows, and other freeze-thaw features, and what could only be described as incipient cirques -- ponds and bogs sapping back into the escarpment and probably still holding some snow in the frigid Guyra winters. The curious point is that they were between 1200 and 1300 metres, not at the highest points above 1500m where we were expecting them, but all on steep south facing escarpments.
One intriguing feature near Point Lookout, on the road up where it crosses the Little Styx River and at 1450m, was what looked very like a terminal moraine. This of course is a glacial, not a periglacial feature, so it is very hard to believe-but have a look at it, and see what you can make of it. There were at least 16 glacial cycles in the Pleistocene, so maybe one of them at least was really severe, and glaciated this far north. Otherwise, you have to go back to the Permian...
|probable solifluction lobes and terraces on hill slope at Malpas Dam|
|Same solifluction lobes visible south of the hill (same hill as picture above)|
What Bob appears to have found near point lookout is even more incredible, as a moraine is formed through the action of glaciers which are accumulations of ice on the surface that slowly moves through a landscape under the action of their own weight. Glaciers in Australia were thought to be limited to Tasmania and the Snowy Mountains. No doubt we will expect to see some published papers on the structure and context of these cold climate features in the region some time in the near future. I can't wait to read the published work that comes from this discovery.
For further information on the individual cold climate features described above by Bob visit the glossary, an online encyclopeadia or a good physical geography book such as Geosystems by Christopherson. If you are a little unclear about the locations of these sites and how they fit into a ‘Northern Rivers’ blog then it is worth mentioning this part of the New England, at Guyra and Malpas Dam are right at the head waters of the Gara River which is a tributary of the Macleay River that runs through Kempsey. The New England Highway in the Guyra area is pretty close to the actual crest of the catchments of the northern rivers, with the rivers to the west of it flowing into the Murray-Darling Basin and those to the east to the Pacific Ocean. Point Lookout is in the headwaters of the Bellinger River which runs trough Bellingen and is also part of the headwaters of the Macleay too.
*Christopherson, R.W., 1997. Geosystems Wiley.
*Hope, P. 2005. The Weather and Climate of Australia During the Last Glacial Maximum. University of Melbourne, PhD Thesis, unpubl.
*Petherick, L.M., Moss, P.T & McGowan, H.A., 2011. Climatic and Environmental Variability During the Termination of the Last Glacial Stage in Coastal Eastern Australia: A Review. Australian Journal of Earth Science V.58.