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Aeolianite and barrier dune construction spanning the last two glacial-interglacial cycles from the southern Cape coast, South Africa

By M.D. Bateman, P.J. Holmes, A.S. Carr, B.P. Horton and M.K. Jaiswal


The southern Cape region of South Africa has extensive coastal aeolianites and barrier dunes. Whilst previously reported, limited knowledge of their age has precluded an understanding of their relationship with the climatic and sea-level fluctuations that have taken place during the Late Quaternary. Sedimentological and geomorphological studies combined with an optical dating programme reveal aeolianite development and barrier dune construction spanning at least the last two glacial–interglacial cycles. Aeolianite deposition has occurred on the southern Cape coast at ca 67–80, 88–90, 104–128, 160–189 and >200 ka before the present. Using this and other published data coupled with a better understanding of Late Quaternary sea-level fluctuations and palaeocoastline configurations, it is concluded that these depositional phases appear to be controlled by interglacial and subsequent interstadial sea-level high stands. These marine transgressions and regressions allowed onshore carbonate-rich sediment movement and subsequent aeolian reworking to occur at similar points in the landscape on a number of occasions. The lack of carbonates in more recent dunes (Oxygen Isotope Stages 1/2 and 4/5) is attributed not to leaching but to changes to carbonate production in the sediment source area caused by increased terrigenous material and/or changes in the balance between the warm Agulhas and nutrient-rich Benguela ocean current

Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:1067

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