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Featured article from karst/cave journal

NSS
Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 2009, Vol 71, Issue 1, p. 32-47
Caves as sea level and uplift indicators, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Abstract:

Flank margin caves have been observed in Quaternary Bridgewater Formation eolianites on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Horizons of flank margin cave development at 25 m, 30 m, and 35 m elevation demonstrate tectonic uplift of tens of meters during the Quaternary, as the cave elevations are higher than any reported Quaternary glacioeustatic sea-level highstand. Distinct cave horizons indicate that episodic uplift was possible. Wave-cut notches at Hanson Bay, at 30 to 35 m elevation, also support the interpretation from caves that relative sea level was once at the ,30-m- elevation range. Admirals Arch, previously presented as forming solely by wave erosion, is a flank margin cave breached and modified by wave erosion. Point Ellen contains a Late Pliocene subtidal carbonate unit that formed within the reach of wave base, was uplifted and cliffed by wave processes, and then was karstified before being buried by Quaternary Bridgewater Formation eolianites. A possible flank margin cave developed at Point Ellen at 3 m above modern sea level is consistent with earlier interpretations of notching of the nearby coast at a similar elevation during the last interglacial sea-level highstand (MIS 5e); and therefore, no tectonic uplift in the last 120 ka. In contrast, the tafoni of Remarkable Rocks present a cautionary note on evidence of cave wall morphological characteristics as proof of dissolutional origin.