Late Quaternary climate changes in the Central Namib Desert, Namibia

Publication Year:

The hyper-arid central Namib Desert represents a flat gravel plain (Namib Unconformity Surface) that rises from the coast in the west to about 1000 m a.s.l. in the east. In the south the Kuiseb River gorge separates the plains with inselbergs from the Namib erg. The aridity along the Namib coast is caused by the cold Benguela Current, which has persisted since Tertiary times. Little is known about late Quaternary climate changes in the central Namib Desert. Here we refer to investigations on Kuiseb River sediment sequences (Homeb Silt Formation), gypsum soils of the Namib Unconformity Surface, and speleothems of Namib caves to discuss their paleoclimatic evidence. According to geomorphologic, sedimentologic, paleopedologic evidence and information of speleothem growth in combination with 14C, U/Th, and TL age determinations, the central Namib Desert experienced an arid climate during the late Quaternary. No evidence was found that the major late Quaternary climate changes affected the central Namib area. We conclude that the cold Benguela Current was stable off the central Namib coast, thus producing the conditions for the aridity throughout the late Quaternary. U/Th dates point to some fluctuations in available moisture during and before the isotope stage 5. Keywords: Namibia, Namib Desert, Kuiseb River, Benguela Current, Quaternary, climate change, thermoluminescence, atmospheric precipitation, radioactivity, relative age, Homeb silt formation, gypsum soil, speleothems, palaeoclimate, geomorphology, gypcrete profile, flash-flood sediments. ACCESSION NUMBER: 551.4 ALS.

Publication Title:

Quaternary Deserts and Climatic Change

Item Type:
Book or Magazine Section

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