The age and paleoclimate implications of relict periglacial block deposits on the New England Tablelands, Australia

Adrian Slee, Timothy T. Barrows, James Shulmeister, Allen Gontz, Kevin Kiernan, Robert Haworth, Douglas Clark, L. Keith Fifield

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Pleistocene periglacial activity in eastern Australia was widespread and has been predicted to have extended along much of the east coast. This paper describes block deposits in the New England Tablelands, Australia, as far north as 30°S. These deposits are characterized by openwork blocks on slopes below the angle of repose. The deposits are positioned where frost cracking was significant and range in area up to 8 ha. Surface exposure dating using the cosmogenic nuclide 36Cl from four block deposits indicate all sites were active late during the last glacial cycle, with a concentration of activity between 15–30 ka. Modern temperature measurements from block deposits highlight the importance of local topography for promoting freezing. Periglacial deposits are likely to have been more extensive than previously recognized at these northern limits, and mean annual temperature more than 8°C colder than today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-137
JournalQuaternary Research
Early online date23 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Block streams
  • Periglacial landforms
  • last glacial maximum
  • Paleoclimate
  • Surface exposure dating
  • Australia

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