Lunettes and the Great Pine Tier

Lunettes are windblown landforms, often crescent moon-shaped, and deposited on the downwind side of lakes and floodplains.  They are generally arid or semi-arid zone landforms that develop when the lake bed source at least partially dries and sediment is then eroded and carried by the wind and trapped in vegetation at the lakeshore.  The existence of sandy lunettes across the Central Plateau implies a drier climate at the time of their formation, which we think was about 4,500 years ago.

Beach and degraded lunette at the eastern margin of Lake Ada, January 2017 (photo: Jason Bradbury).

The Central Plateau lunettes occur in the Nineteen Lagoons area near Lakes Ada and Augusta, extending south to Lake Fergus and north to Second Bar Lake.  They are mostly 1 – 10 ha in size. These lunettes are of conservation significance when considered together with the association of a remnant Gondwanan alpine flora. They are also the most likely to offer evidence of the activity of Aboriginal people in this part of the Central Plateau.

The lunettes are particularly sensitive to actions that remove the vegetation with fire being one such action.  Without the wind calming and soil binding effects of vegetation, the loose, unconsolidated sand is very prone to erosion by the strong winds prevalent on the Central Plateau.