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A trip 480 million years in the making

Participants hear about Monaro soils and geology

The landscapes, soils and geology from Cooma to Adaminaby were under scrutiny last Friday on the 2019 Local Land Services Monaro Soils and Geology Tour. Running for its third year, the trip was fully booked with 60 Monaro land managers joining guest speakers Dr. Leah Moore from the University of Canberra, Peter Fogarty from the Soil Knowledge Network and Local Land Services Senior Agricultural Advisor, Jo Powells to learn more about their local region.

Those on the trip got a glimpse across the geological timeline from our oldest geological formations (458-480 million years old) to our youngest alluvial areas (only 1-2.5 million years old). The trip aimed to highlight the link between local geology, our soils and how we manage them for agriculture and conservation.

The geology of a large area between Cooma and Adaminaby is from the Ordovician period, formed between 458-480 million years ago. The sandstone and siltstone derived soils from this geological era can be quite challenging to manage and are typically low in fertility and can often be quite acidic. The area also has numerous fault lines running through it which have influenced not only local geology but also the pathway of the Murrumbidgee River.

“The rocks and soil profiles exposed in road cuttings around the Monaro give us great insight into how the landscape has formed over many millions of years, and how soil types are closely related to the various rock types” said guest speaker Peter Fogarty.

“The different layers that you see in the cuttings are a real eye opener and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to explain what these layers tell us about the formation of the Monaro landscape”.

The local land managers on the trip commented that being able to look at the rock formations and see the different sites along with the explanations provided really helped their understanding of the geology and soils of the area.

“It is great to work shoulder to shoulder with local farmers to better understand landscape processes and how we might best manage the land” said guest speaker Dr Leah Moore.

“It’s a real privilege to share my knowledge and learn from land managers who know these landscapes so well. My hope is that initiatives like this will ensure that science will continue to underpin wise decision making”

LLS Senior Agricultural Advisor Jo Powells was elated by the level of community interest in the tour.

“This region has some quite complex geology and soils and it’s great to be able to work with local managers so we can all gain an understanding of how the Monaro landscape has evolved and how we can best manage our soils”.

This tour was made possible with the funding and support of Local Land Services and from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and will remain an annual event for the local area.


Media contact: Jo Powells, South East Local Land Services, 0429 785 986