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Soil and Land Assessment of the Southern Part of Flying Fox Station for Irrigated Agriculture. Part A: Land Resources and General Land Capability.



Soil and Land Assessment of the Southern Part of Flying Fox Station for Irrigated Agriculture. Part A: Land Resources and General Land Capability.

Other title

Agricultural Land Suitability Series, Report 14A


Andrews, K; Burgess, J; McGrath, N; Wright, A; Walton, S; Northern Territory. Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security


Hill, J.V.


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Technical Report No. 3/2021




Flying Fox Station; Roper River Region


This report presents findings from a 52 938 ha soil and land resource mapping investigation of the southern part of Flying Fox Station, in the Roper River Region of the Northern Territory. While the study area was primarily selected because of its diverse geology, terrain and soils, it is also representative of the central Roper River region, and findings from the investigation will underpin and guide future agricultural development in the region.


Made available by via Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

Executive Summary; 1. Introduction; 2. Previous land resource investigations; 3. Methodology; 4. Climate; 5. Geology; 6. Landscapes; 7. Land units; 8. Land capability assessment; 9. Land management; 10. References; Appendices.




soil survey; land resource assessment; land units; land capability assessment

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication





Technical Report No. 3/2021


208 pages : colour maps and illustrations ; 30cm

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Related links

http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/metadata/export_data?type=html&metadata_id=6589A5D125EFB385E050CD9B2144202B; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/820014 [Report_print_Soil Land Assessment Flying Fox - Part A Land Resources General Land Capability]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/820013 [Report_screen_Soil Land Assessment Flying Fox - Part A Land Resources General Land Capability]; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/829192 [Soil and Land Assessment of the Southern Part of Flying Fox Station for Irrigated Agriculture. Part B: Digital Soil Mapping and Crop Specific Land Suitability]

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Soil and Land Assessment of the Southern Part of Flying Fox Station for Irrigated Agriculture Part A: Land Resources and General Land Capability 29 5. Geology The Flying Fox study area is centrally located within the Mesoproterozoic aged McArthur Basin, and is representative of the sedimentary, doleritic and unconsolidated surficial landscapes that populate the region (Abbott et al. 2001). Uplift and dissection within the basin have driven modern day landscape development, and catenary sequences and soil formation processes closely align with the nature and distribution of outcropping lithological groups. The sections that follow briefly outline the physiography, drainage network, structural geology, stratigraphy and likely geologic evolution of the area. The information presented comes directly from the 1: 250 000 geologic mapping and explanatory notes of Abbott et al. (2001). Use of the published ideas and technical data of these authors is gratefully acknowledged. 5.1 Physiography Abbott et al. (2001) recognise four physiographic provinces within the Roper Region of the McArthur Basin, namely the Gulf Fall, Wilton River Plateau, Cretaceous Tableland and Coastal Plain. Of these, the dissected Gulf Fall is the most extensive, and occupies nearly all lands west of the coastal plain (including the Flying Fox study area). In the central Roper River valley, Gulf Fall landscapes adopt a repetitive pattern of locally elevated interfluves (residual rises, low hills, strike ridges, mesas and plateaus with local relief between 20-220m) and intervening relatively flat bedded fluvial valleys (pediments, colluvial plains, creek flats, alluvial plains and floodplains) (Abbott et al. 2001). The Wilton River Plateau (a flat-lying to gently dipping Proterozoic sandstone plateau), the Cretaceous Tablelands (relatively thin, fragmented Cretaceous plateau remnants) and the Coastal Plain (low elevation sandy plains, estuarine flats, coastal dunes and beach ridges developed on coastal/marine sediments) are all located outside the Flying Fox study area; and are not considered further. 5.2 Drainage network Drainage within the northern Gulf Fall province is dominated by the Roper River and its major tributaries; namely the Strangways, Hodgson, Jalboi and Wilton Rivers, as well as Maiwok and Flying Fox Creeks. Cumulatively these streams drain almost 90% of the region (Abbott et al. 2001). Floodplain development along the Roper system is immature but spatially extensive. Stream channel incision is relatively shallow, and channel density and distribution highly variable. Floodplain morphology alternates between densely channelled/anastomosing sections and more sparsely channelled zones (where just a few larger channels are developed). Most channels (other than primary river channels) are ephemeral in the dry season, but carry overflow flooding during the wet season. Alluvial clay plains up to 5 km wide are developed along much of its length (Abbott et al. 2001), with backplain development dependent on the density and distribution of channeling. Major tributaries of the Roper system (such as Maiwok and Flying Fox Creeks) exhibit similar morphology in their lower reaches (albeit on a smaller scale). More locally within the Flying Fox study area, drainage characteristics vary significantly depending on elevation and sub-catchment position. In mid and upper sub-catchments, high energy erosional and depositional streams dominate the drainage network; while in lower sub

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