Journal article

The character, origin and palaeoenvironmental significance of the Wonderkrater spring mound, South Africa

TS McCarthy, WN Ellery, L Backwell, P Marren, B de Klerk, S Tooth, D Brandt, S Woodborne



Wonderkrater is a spring mound consisting entirely of peat in excess of 8. m thick. It has yielded a pollen record extending back over 35,000. years, which has provided one of the very few proxy climatic records for the interior of southern Africa in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The current investigation of the morphology and sedimentology of the site has revealed that the peat mound formed due to artesian conditions at the spring, but that accumulation of the thick peat succession was made possible because of clastic sedimentation on the surrounding piedmont which in turn was brought about by aggradation on the adjacent Nyl River floodplain. The peat mound has remained elevated relati..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dr. Walter Ward, owner of the site, for permission to work on the property and for generously accommodating us during our field work. We also thank farm manager Zacharia (Sakkie) Kekana for general assistance on the site, and Matt Kitching and Rhod McRae-Samuel for technical assistance. Financial support was provided by the National Research Foundation (NRF), University Research Council, University of the Witwatersrand, Palaeontology Scientific Trust (PAST) and Cultural Service of the French Embassy in South Africa, and supported by the National Museum, Bloemfontein. The archaeological investigation was conducted with a SAHRA excavation permit (No. 80/05/05/017/51) issued 13th July 2005 to Lucinda Backwell.