Diversity within geodiversity, underpinning habitats

Sutherland Frederick L. and Cohen Benjamin E. (2010). Diversity within geodiversity, underpinning habitats. In: Symposium on Geodiversity, Geological Heritage and Geotourism, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia, (22-22). 6-10 September 2010.

Author Sutherland Frederick L.
Cohen Benjamin E.
Title of paper Diversity within geodiversity, underpinning habitats
Conference name Symposium on Geodiversity, Geological Heritage and Geotourism
Conference location Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia
Conference dates 6-10 September 2010
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Published abstract
Start page 22
End page 22
Total pages 1
Language eng
Abstract/Summary New South Wales National Parks and State conservation areas lie in diverse geological settings. One major geological component includes prominent, eroded Cenozoic shield volcanoes, which formed in a similar manner to the Hawaiian Island volcanoes. The NSW volcanoes either represent basaltic shields with central cores of silicic rocks or more simple basaltic shields. The former provide biological refuge areas at Tweed, Ebor‐Dorrigo, Nandewar, Warrumbungle, Comboyne and Canobolas. These volcanoes decrease in both age and size southwards due to deep geodynamic processes. This leads to systematic habitat variations. The largest, most eroded Tweed volcano (23‐25 million years old) provides contrasting lava aprons, erosional caldera rims, basement valley floors, and an isolated central peak. Further south the central shields show progressive reductions in such features, so that the southernmost Canobolas shield (11‐13 m.y.) retains a more complete profile without marked internal habitat contrasts. The simpler basaltic shields are represented in Barrington Tops National Park, where a plateau of lava flows 50‐60 m.y. old is embayed by deep valleys rimmed by escarpments, forming a variety of habitats. Similar basaltic shields lie in National Parks elsewhere, e.g. Mummel Gulf and Ben Halls Gap, but fertile basalt soils mostly prompted agricultural development. Another basaltic shield, well offshore, forms Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Site and NSW State Marine Park. The only part of this 6‐7 m.y. old edifice that remains above sea level is a mountainous caldera lava fill, but its wide submarine‐bevelled flanks support fringing coral reefs and diverse marine habitats. The volcanic shields mark regions of related rocks, soils, and landforms that are spread across coastal escarpments, highland divides and inland surfaces. These differing landscapes underpin biodiversity preserved in NSW parks and conservation areas. The eroded volcanic landforms also form scenic landscapes and provide a platform for comparative biological research and geo‐education/geo‐tourism.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Earth Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 12 Oct 2011, 18:19:10 EST by Dr Benjamin Cohen on behalf of School of Earth Sciences