Kanawinka Fault and the Naracoorte Flooding
The first record of fossil bones from Naracoorte Caves came from a minister, Rev. Tension Woods, in 1859. He believed that these fossil bones were evidence of the Biblical Flood (described in the Bible, Genesis 6-8). There was no biblical flood, but the fossils had certainly suggested that Naracoorte had once been covered by the sea.
Scientists exploring and studying the deposits at Naracoorte have tried to put together a puzzle of mammoth proportions. They constructed parts of the puzzle by finding tiny bones and fossilised teeth, the pollen of plants and certain geographic features. A meaningful picture had begun to emerge.
The terrain features a limestone plateau along the Kanawinka fault. The limestone itself was deposited up to and included the Miocene epoch when the region featured a warm shallow ocean. Naracoorte limestone is richly endoved with the fossils of brachiopods, molluscs, sponges, corals and echinoderms. Fossilised remains of much larger marine species such as whales and sharks have also been reported.
About 800 000 years ago the Kanawinka fault moved, uplifting the Naracoorte limestone, raising the caves above the water table. Much of the limestone became covered and protected by sand dunes formed by the deposition of sand from the nearby sea.
As water percolated downwards, dissolving some of the sand and limestone, ‘pitfall traps’ were formed. It is theorised that these pitfall traps claimed many animals for the caves below, accounting for much of the bone deposits. The flow of water into and through the caves would also have been responsible for the deposition of dead remains.
If the Kanawinka fault hadn’t moved, pitfall traps wouldn’t be formed resulting in an empty site with no real historic evidence of Megafauna or the life that was before us. We wouldn’t have discovered what we have today.
The animal fossils found at the Naracoorte site...
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