Conclusions

The process-form associations outlined in this chapter allow interpretations to be made of relict forms belonging to past glacial advances. While no single landform is necessarily diagnostic of glacier type, assemblages of landforms (landsystems) allow former glacier systems to be reconstructed with some confidence. We have emphasized the wide variety of landforms and landform associations found in glaciated valleys and that these landforms reflect the local topography, lithology, climate, debris supply and the efficiency of sediment transport from the glacier to the proglacial environment. We have also presented many of the numerous landsystems

Present

Neoglacial

Early Holocene

Last Glaciation

Tasman valley

Outwash-head

landsystem

association

E 1 P c

\\

c c cC ^

Irishman/stony stream

Q

^0fe^ . \ 'ne

9'aciers

Far eastern ranges

Figure 15.25 Landsystem occurrence in space and time in the Ben Ohau Range. Older, larger landsystems represent more open/'coupled' sediment-transfer systems. As later glacier advances have been smaller, more closed/'uncoupled' landsystems have developed. Thus, sediment transfer through catchments has become more interrupted from the Last Glacial Maximum through to the late Holocene.

and lithofacies models that exist to help examine the dynamics, landforms and sediments that characterize particular, and often unique, glacial valley landsystems. This plethora of models illustrates the complexity of glacial valley landsystems, but they help develop a framework for interpreting and reconstructing ancient landform and sediment associations in glacial valleys. Such reconstructions are important for palaeo-climatic inferences (Benn and Lehmkuhl, 2000) and for developing models of how mountain landscapes evolve. Furthermore, an understanding of the dynamics of erosion, sediment transfer, deposition and landform evolution is essential for efficient and effective sampling and interpretation of numerical dating such as cosmogenic radionuclide surface exposure and optical stimulated luminescence dating (Benn and Owen, 2002; Owen et al. 2002).

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