Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sediment fluxes and sinks for Magela Creek, Northern Territory, Australia

Wayne D. Erskine A B C E , M. J. Saynor A , J. M. Boyden A and K. G. Evans A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist, GPO Box 461, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia.

B Present address: School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle, PO Box 127, Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia.

C Present address: Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, School for the Environment and Life Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

D Present address: Water Engineering and Mining Technology Group, School of Engineering and Information Technology, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

E Corresponding author: Email: wde059@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16107
Submitted: 1 April 2016  Accepted: 13 February 2017   Published online: 17 February 2017

Abstract

Sediment fluxes and sinks based on total sediment load for Magela Creek in the Australian wet–dry tropics have been constructed from detailed measurements of stream suspended sediment (turbidity and suspended sand) and bed load for the 10-year period, 2001–2002 to 2010–2011. This work shows that the sediment trap efficiency of the vegetated wetlands on lower Magela is high at ~89.5%. Sediment fluxes are the lowest in the world because of low soil erosion rates and because upstream floodplains and downstream wetlands trap and store sediment. Bedload yields are less than suspended sediment yields, but the amount of silt and clay is much less than the amount of sand (suspended sand and bedload). All sand is stored upstream of the East Alligator River. Downstream connectivity of sediment movement does not occur. Therefore, sediment moves discontinuously from the upper to the lower catchment.

Additional keywords: bedload, sediment discontinuities, sediment-trap efficiency of wetlands, suspended sand, suspended sediment, turbidity.


References

Blake, D. H., and Ollier, C. D. (1971). Alluvial plains of the Fly River, Papua. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 12, 1–17.

Boyden, J., Joyce, K. E., Boggs, G., and Wurm, P. (2013). Object-based mapping of native vegetation and para grass (Urochloa mutica) on a monsoonal wetland of Kakadu NP using a Landsat 5 TM dry season time series. Journal of Spatial Science 58, 53–77.
Object-based mapping of native vegetation and para grass (Urochloa mutica) on a monsoonal wetland of Kakadu NP using a Landsat 5 TM dry season time series.CrossRef |

Carson, L. J., Haines, P. W., Brakel, A. T., and Pietsch, B. A. (1999). ‘Geological Map Series Explainatory Notes Milingimbi SD-53–2.’ (Department of Mines and Energy, Northern Territory Geological Survey and Australian Geological Survey Organisation.: Darwin, NT, Australia.)

Clark, R. L., and Guppy, J. C. (1988). A transition from mangrove forest to freshwater wetland in the monsoon tropics of Australia. Journal of Biogeography 15, 665–684.
A transition from mangrove forest to freshwater wetland in the monsoon tropics of Australia.CrossRef |

Duggan, K. (1988). Mining and erosion in the Alligator River Region of northern Australia. Ph.D. Thesis, School of Earth Sciences, Macquarie University.

Duggan, K. (1994). Erosion and sediment yields in the Kakadu region of northern Australia. In ‘Variability in Stream Erosion and Sediment Transport’. (Eds L. J. Olive, R. J. Loughran, and J. A. Kesby.) pp. 373–383. (International Association of Hydrological Sciences: Wallingford, UK.)

East, T. J. (1996). Landform Evolution. In ‘Landscape evolution and vegetation ecology of the Kakadu Region, Northern Australia’. (Eds C.M. Finlayson and I. Von Oertzen.) pp. 37 -55. (Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht. Netherlands.)

Envirotech Monitoring Pty Ltd (2016). ‘ERISS Rating Review and Uncertainty Analysis.’ (Supervising Scientist: Darwin, NT, Australia.)

Erskine, W. D., and Bogert, R. (2013) Geomorphology and sedimentology of the Mogo Creek fluvial delta, NSW, Australia. In ‘Deltas: Landforms, Ecosystems and Human Activities’. (Eds G. Young and G. Perillo.) pp. 218–225. (International Association of Hydrological Sciences: Wallingford, UK.)

Erskine, W. D., and Saynor, M. J. (2000). Assessment of the off-site geomorphic impacts of uranium mining on Magela Creek, Northern Territory, Australia. Supervising Scientist Report 156. Supervising Scientist, Darwin, NT, Australia.

Erskine, W. D., and Saynor, M. J. (2012). Landslide impacts on suspended sediment sources following an extreme event in the Magela Creek catchment, northern Australia. In ‘Erosion and Sediment Yields in the Changing Environment.’ (Eds. A.L. Collins, V. Golosov, A.J. Horowitz, X. Lu, M. Stone, D.E. Walling, and X. Zhang, X. pp. 138–145. (International Association of Hydrological Sciences: Wallingford, UK.)

Erskine, W. D., and Saynor, M. J. (2015). Bedload yields for sand-bed streams in the Ngarradj Creek catchment, Northern Territory, Australia. Hydrological Processes 29, 3767–3778.
Bedload yields for sand-bed streams in the Ngarradj Creek catchment, Northern Territory, Australia.CrossRef |

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Evans, K. G., and Boggs, G. (2001). Geomorphic research to determine the off-site impacts of the Jabiluka Mine on Swift (Ngarradj) Creek, Northern Territory. Supervising Scientist Report 158. Supervising Scientist Darwin, NT, Australia.

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Erskine, L., Evans, K. G., and Moliere, D. (2005). A preliminary typology of Australian tropical rivers and implications for fish community ecology. Marine and Freshwater Research 56, 253–267.
A preliminary typology of Australian tropical rivers and implications for fish community ecology.CrossRef |

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Moliere, D. R., and Evans, K. G. (2006). Bedload transport, yield and grain size in a seasonal tropical river in northern Australia. In ‘30th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium’, 4–7 December 2006, Launceston, Tas., Australia. (CD-ROM.) (Institution of Engineers, Australia: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Evans, K. G., and Moliere, D. (2011). Bedload transport, hydrology and river hydraulics in the Ngarradj Creek catchment, Jabiluka, Northern Territory, Australia. Supervising Scientist Report 199. Supervising Scientist, Darwin, NT, Australia.

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Turner, K., Fagan, S., and Chalmers, A. C. (2014a). Geomorphic characteristics of the Gulungul Creek catchment. In ‘eriss Annual Research Summary 2012–2013’. (Ed. R. van Dam.) pp. 99–116. Supervising Scientist Report 205. Supervising Scientist, Darwin, NT, Australia.

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., Turner, K., Whiteside, T., Boyden, J., and Evans, K. G. (2014b). Do suspended sediment and bedload move progressively from the summit to the sea along Magela Creek, northern Australia? In ‘Sediment Dynamics from the Summit to the Sea’. (Eds Y. J. Xu, A. Mead, S. J. Bentley, A. L. Collins, W. D. Erskine, V. Golosov, A. J. Horowitz, and M. Stone.) pp. 283–290. (International Association of Hydrological Sciences: Wallingford, UK.)

Erskine, W. D., Saynor, M. J., and Lowry, J. (2017). Application of a new river classification system to Australia’s tropical rivers. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography , .

Evans, K. G., Moliere, D. R., Saynor, M. J., Erskine, W. D., and Bellio, M. G. (2004a). Baseline suspended-sediment, solute, EC and turbidity characteristics for the Ngarradj Catchment, Northern Territory, and the impact of mine construction. Supervising Scientist Report 179. Supervising Scientist, Darwin, NT, Australia.

Evans, K. G., Martin, P., Moliere, D. R., Saynor, M. J., Prendergast, J. B., and Erskine, W. D. (2004b). Erosion risk assessment of the Jabiluka mine site, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 9, 512–522.
Erosion risk assessment of the Jabiluka mine site, Northern Territory, Australia.CrossRef |

Finlayson, C. M., Bailey, B. J., and Cowie, I. D. (1989). Macrophyte vegetation of the Magela Creek flood plain, Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory. Research Report 5. Office of the Supervising Scientist, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Hart, B. T., and McGregor, R. J. (1980). Limnological survey of eight billabongs in the Magela Creek catchment, Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 31, 611–626.
Limnological survey of eight billabongs in the Magela Creek catchment, Northern Territory.CrossRef |

Hart, B. T., Davies, S. H. R., and Thomas, P. A. (1982). Transport of iron, manganese, cadmium, copper and zinc by Magela Creek, Northern Territory, Australia. Water Research 16, 605–612.
Transport of iron, manganese, cadmium, copper and zinc by Magela Creek, Northern Territory, Australia.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL38XksVCju7s%3D&md5=2268075dede5b59055a5f80e21d41dacCAS |

Hart, B. T., Ottaway, E. M., and Noller, B. N. (1987a). Magela Creek system, northern Australia. I 1982–83 Wet-season water quality. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38, 261–288.
Magela Creek system, northern Australia. I 1982–83 Wet-season water quality.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL2sXlt1Slsb4%3D&md5=ecaf59a39be5ba70b71d6a532c80a8cfCAS |

Hart, B. T., Ottaway, E. M., and Noller, B. N. (1987b). Magela Creek system, northern Australia. II Material budget for the floodplain. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38, 861–876.
Magela Creek system, northern Australia. II Material budget for the floodplain.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL1cXktFWgsLw%3D&md5=590dae4e5ae6b9aa87b0879e696ecbbcCAS |

Hays, J. (1967). Land surfaces and laterites in the north of the Northern Territory. In: ‘Landform Studies from Australia and New Guinea.’ (Eds J. N. Jennings, and J. A. Mabbutt.) pp. 182–210. (Australian National University Press: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)

Huang, H. Q., and Nanson, G. C. (2007). Why some alluvial rivers develop an anabranching pattern. Water Resources Research 43, W07441.
Why some alluvial rivers develop an anabranching pattern.CrossRef |

Jansen, J. D., and Nanson, G. C. (2004). Anabranching and maximum flow efficiency in Magela Creek, northern Australia. Water Resources Research 40, W04503.
Anabranching and maximum flow efficiency in Magela Creek, northern Australia.CrossRef |

Moliere, D., and Evans, K. G. (2010). Development of trigger levels to assess catchment disturbance on stream suspended sediment load in the Magela Creek catchment, Northern Territory, Australia. Geographical Research 48, 370–385.
Development of trigger levels to assess catchment disturbance on stream suspended sediment load in the Magela Creek catchment, Northern Territory, Australia.CrossRef |

Moliere, D. R., Saynor, M. J., and Evans, K. G. (2005). Suspended sediment concentration–turbidity relationships for Ngarradj: a seasonal stream in the wet–dry tropics. Australian Journal of Water Resources 9, 37–47.

Nanson, G. C., East, T. J., and Roberts, R. G. (1993). Quaternary stratigraphy, geochronology and evolution of the Magela Creek catchment in the monsoon tropics of northern Australia. Sedimentary Geology 83, 277–302.
Quaternary stratigraphy, geochronology and evolution of the Magela Creek catchment in the monsoon tropics of northern Australia.CrossRef |

Needham, R. S. (1988). ‘Geology of the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field, Northern Territory’. (Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)

Pickup, G., Wasson, R. J., Warner, R. F., Tongway, D., and Clark, R. L. (1987). ‘A feasibility study of geomorphic research for the long term management of Uranium Mill Tailings.’ (CSIRO Division of Water Resources Research: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)

Roberts, R. G. (1991). ‘Sediment budgets and Quaternary history of the Magela catchment, tropical northern Australia. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Wollongong.

Saynor, M. J., and Erskine, W. D. (2013). Classification of river reaches on the little disturbed East Alligator River, Northern Australia. International Journal of Geosciences 4, 53–65.
Classification of river reaches on the little disturbed East Alligator River, Northern Australia.CrossRef |

Saynor, M. J., Erskine, W. D., Moliere, D. R., and Evans, K. G. (2006). Water, solute and sediment yields for a seasonal tropical river in northern Australia. In ‘30th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium’, 4–7 December 2006, Launceston, Tas., Australia. (CD-ROM.) (Institution of Engineers Australia: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)

Short, S. A., Lowson, R. T., Ellis, J., and Price, D. M. (1989). Thorium-uranium disequilibrium dating of late Quaternary ferruginous concretions and rinds. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 53, 1379–1389.
Thorium-uranium disequilibrium dating of late Quaternary ferruginous concretions and rinds.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL1MXkvVWltLg%3D&md5=ec4250e0e88b6dac970a0aa2a7b388b5CAS |

Thomas, P. A., and Hart, B. T. (1984). Textural characteristics and heavy metal concentrations in billabong sediments from the Magela Creek system, northern Australia. Technical Memorandum 9, Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region. AGPS, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Tooth, S. (1999). Floodouts in central Australia. In ‘Varieties of Fluvial Forms’. (Eds A. J. Miller and A. Gupta.) pp. 219–247. (Wiley: Chichester, UK.)

Walker, T., and Tyler, P. (1984). Tropical Australia, a dynamic limnological environment. Verhandlungen des Internationalen Verein Limnologie 22, 1727–1734.
| 1:CAS:528:DyaL2MXhsFCgurw%3D&md5=a9d0778ce0498f0d99722fb9d3255119CAS |

Walling, D. E. (1977). Assessing the accuracy of suspended sediment rating curves for a small basin. Water Resources Research 13, 531–538.
Assessing the accuracy of suspended sediment rating curves for a small basin.CrossRef |

Ward, D., Pusey, B., Brooks, A., Olley, J., Shellberg, J., Spencer, J., and Tews, K. (2011). River landscapes and aquatic systems diversity. In ‘Aquatic Biodiversity in Northern Australia: Patterns, Threats and Future’. (Ed. B. Pusey.) pp. 5–22. (Charles Darwin University Press: Darwin, NT, Australia.)

Wasson, R. J. (Ed.) (1992). Modern sedimentation and late Quaternary evolution of the Magela Creek plain. Research Report 6, Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region. AGPS, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Wende, R., and Nanson, G. C. (1998). Anabranching rivers: ridge form alluvial channel in tropical northern Australia. Geomorphology 22, 205–224.
Anabranching rivers: ridge form alluvial channel in tropical northern Australia.CrossRef |

Wilhelmy, H. (1958). Umlaufseen und dammuferseen tropischer tieflandflusse. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 2, 27–54.

Williams, M. A. J. (1969). Geomorphology of the Adelaide–Alligator area. In ‘Lands of the Adelaide-Alligator area, Northern Territory’. (Eds R. Story, M. A. J. Williams, A. D. L. Hooper, R. E. O’Ferrall, and J. R. McAlpine.) CSIRO Land Research Series 25, pp. 71–94. (CSIRO: Canberra, ACT, Australia.)



Export Citation