Reconstruction of environmental and climate changes at Braamhoek wetland, eastern escarpment South Africa, during the last 16 000 years with emphasis on the Pleistocene-Holocene transition
2009 (English)In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, ISSN 0031-0182, Vol. 271, 270-258 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A paleo-environmental record covering the last 16 ka (16 000 cal yrs BP) from the eastern areas of the summer rainfall region in South Africa is presented. This area is until now sparsely investigated due to the lack of well preserved natural archives. For this study, we used a peat section from a wetland situated close to the Drakensberg escarpment, where the high annual rainfall amounts supported a continuous peat accumulation since c. 16 ka. One peat core was analysed in terms of fossil pollen composition, carbon and nitrogen content, isotope composition (δ13C, δ15N) and microscopic charcoal concentration. The greatest degree of temporal resolution was achieved from the late Pleistocene and early Holocene section, where proxy-records indicate relatively dry conditions between ca. 16-13.7 ka, 12.8-10.5 ka, 9.5-8.2 ka, and wet conditions between c. 13.7-12.8 ka and 10.5-9.5 ka. A weak moisture signal is also evident at c. 8.2-7.5 ka. The late Pleistocene to early Holocene period was relatively cool, while conditions became generally warmer after 11-8 ka. The interpretation of the mid- and late-Holocene sequence is limited due to a slow accumulation and low sample resolution, but the available data suggest relatively dry conditions until c. 1.5 ka, followed by more humid conditions until c. 0.5 ka. We suggest that the millennial scale variability within the record can be attributed to shifts in the circulation systems dominating the region, i.e. the latitudinal movements of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and the dynamics of the mid-latitude low pressure belts.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2009. Vol. 271, 270-258 p.
paleoclimate, South Africa, palynology, Holocene
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24705DOI: doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.10.018ISI: 000263013200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24705DiVA: diva2:198147