Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Monday, January 30, 2012

Did New England have glaciers?

Back in October, one of the points in Aboriginal New England in the Pleistocene Period I spoke of the impact on any then Aboriginal settlement of the long cold period that began around 25,000 years ago. There I said in part:

The Tablelands would have been a very different story. Here average temperatures fell by perhaps 8 degrees C. The New England Tablelands marked the start of a region of cold steppe and scattered sub-alpine woodland sweeping down through the southern Snowy Mountains into Tasmania.

In the southern Snowy Mountains, the fall in temperature was sufficient to allow glaciers to form despite the lower precipitation. In New England, the higher portions of the Tablelands in the centre and south where average heights are around 1,300 metres must have been very cold, dry and windswept. Along New England’s Snowy Mountains where the highest peak (Round Mountain) is almost 1,600 metres, there were probably blizzards and semi-permanent snow despite the much lower precipitation.

Now in an interesting post, How cold was it? Glaciers in New England?, Rod has suggested based on a comment from Bob H that New England may actually display cold climate glacial features. If so, it was colder than we realised, something that might help explain the apparent absence to this point of Aboriginal settlement.  

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