Sedimentary, palynologic, and 14C analysis of 480 cm of freshwater marl and swamp-peat deposits, formed under the influence of fluctuating artesian springs, provides a paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic record of approximately 65,000 yr for northwestern Tasmania.
The Holocene (Pollen Zone 1, 11,000-0 yr B.P.) climate was warm and moist, and forest vegetation was dominant throughout the area. During the later part of the last glacial stage (Pollen Zone 2, 35,000–11,000 yr B.P.) the climate was generally drier, and grassy open environments were widespread. The driest part of this period occurred between 25,000 to 11,000 yr B.P., when temperatures in western Tasmania were markedly reduced during the last major phase of glaciation. Prior to 35,000 yr B.P. (Pollen Zones 3–9) a long “interstadial complex” dating to the middle of the last glacial stage is recognized. During this period the climate was generally moist, and forest and scrub communities were more important than during the later part of the last glacial stage, except during Pollen Zone 5 when high Gramineae plus Compositae values suggest drier conditions. High Gramineae and Compositae values also occur in Pollen Zone 10 at the base of the diagram. They suggest that a phase of drier and cooler climatic conditions occurred during the early part of the last glacial stage.