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South East LLS and University of Canberra team up for soils and geology tour

The car park at the Bombala River Park is an unlikely place to find a time machine. But last Saturday morning a bus load of Monaro locals joined Dr Leah Moore from the University of Canberra, Peter Fogarty from the Soil Knowledge Network and Jo Powells from South East Local Land Services, for a trip back in time through the geological history of the Southern Monaro.

The participants were taken through a local geological time walk, tracing the area’s oldest soils to the newest and looking at the formation of the Monaro’s landscape features.

Associate Professor and geologist at the University of Canberra Dr Leah Moore has a rich understanding of the Monaro geology having studied the landscape and its distinctive features for many years.

“The Monaro landscape is quite unique and its geology has been influenced by multiple and widespread occurrences of faulting, folding, eruptions and weathering over a time frame ranging from 23 to 480 million years ago to give us the landscape we have today.” Dr Moore said.

The tour took in some of the local geological highlights including the sandstone and mudstone folds near Cambalong, the Irondoon Thrust and Woodglen Fault, the granite dykes and veins near Saucy Creek and the volcanic soils of Brown Mountain.

Geology is a complex field and it can be difficult to fully appreciate the time and scale of structures and events, but the aim of the day was to explain things in a fun and easy to understand way.

Participants were able to get to know and appreciate the district in new ways and learn what factors had influenced local soil development over time.

Jo Powells, Senior Agriculture Advisor for South East Local Land Services, works with land managers and producers on the Monaro.

“Knowing how and when our soils formed can provide us with knowledge not only about their production potential but also about their physical and chemical limitations” Jo said.

“The Monaro has a wide variation of geologies ranging from 488 million year old sandstones and mudstones through to the relatively young Monaro basalts, about 23 million years old.

“Each soil type derived from these geologies has limitations but we can work with these to maximise agricultural production in some areas and protect our natural resource assets in others.

Hopefully everyone came away from the tour with a new perspective on the area and a greater appreciation for what our soils do for us.”


Media contact: Dave Michael, South East Local Land Services, 0418 513 880