Dr. Agathe Lisé-Pronovost

School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Melbourne

Paleomagnetic records from stalagmites and lake sediments and applications for Australia’s cultural and natural history

In this lecture, I will present the latest Holocene paleomagnetic records from Australian stalagmites, lake sediments and lava flow and discuss their incorporation into geomagnetic field models. There is a long-standing imbalance in the global distributionof high resolution paleomagnetic data, with the southern hemisphere critically under-documented relative to the northern hemisphere. Australia is one region lacking high quality data. Here, paleomagnetic results from three Australian sites are presented. The first site is Webbs Cave on the Nullarbor Plains (southern Australia). It is the first Holocene paleomagnetic record from stalagmite in Australia and reaches decadal scale resolution over the last 4.2 ka. The second site includes the Crater lakes Keilambete and Gnotuk (southeast Australia) reaching centennial-scale resolution over the last 10 ka. Those lake sediments, first studied by Charlie Barton in the 1970s, are to my knowledge the only Australian sediment paleomagnetic record sometimes included inglobal databases and models. The lakes were cored again in January 2023, with the goal to revisit the pioneer records with modern state-of-the-art paleomagnetic techniques. The third site is the Budj Bim cultural volcanic landscape (southeast Australia). Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 36.6 ka (Ar/Ar) lava flow was engineered by Indigenous people over millennia into a complex eel aquaculture system. We will present an archaeomagnetic investigation into Indigenous fire technology and draw onthis case study to highlight exciting applications for developing regional paleomagnetic dating in Australia.

About Agathe Lisé-Pronovost

Dr. Agathe Lisé-Pronovost is an expert in Earth’s magnetic field research working in the disciplines of Geochronology, Paleoclimate, and Archaeological Sciences. She is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA Fellow and lecturer in the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She is Chair of the Science Committee for the Australia and New Zealand Consortium (ANZIC) for the international scientific ocean drilling program.
Agathe’s paleomagnetic research focuses on the Australian region, the South Pacific, Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere. Her research unlocks data from the past in materials such as lake and marine sediments, cave deposits, archaeological artifacts and lava flows to understand geomagnetic changes and how it impactssociety. She reconstructs the Earth’s magnetic field history, develop dating tools and engage in multi-disciplinary investigations.