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A call for Australian loess

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The term ‘loess’ for silty terrestrial deposits of aeolian origin is widely avoided in the Australian context. This seems to be linked to a prevailing notion among Australian geoscientists that loess is an inherently periglacial late Pleistocene sediment and hence negligible on the mainland. Addressing this conception, loess is presented here as a product of both cold and hot semi-arid environments and therefore a widespread feature in Australia. The adoption of a non-prescriptive definition of loess will align the variety of local descriptions with overseas terminology. More importantly, it will relate hitherto only vaguely defined wind-blown dust occurrences to a broader palaeoenvironmental concept.

Keywords: Australia; dust; loess; parna; wind-blown

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia and Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration, Email:

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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