The middle to late Miocene climatic development of Southwest Africa derived from the sedimentological record of ODP Site 1085A
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- Roters, B. & Henrich, R. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2010) 99: 459. doi:10.1007/s00531-008-0398-9
Sediments from the ODP Site 1085A were studied to investigate the impacts of global cooling in the Middle and Late Miocene on the climate in Southwestern Africa. The size composition of the sediment was analysed emphasising the silt fraction. A comparison with the modern grain size distribution and suitable transport processes made it possible to assign specific transport processes to the grain size composition. Three processes are considered for transport of terrigeneous silt: while there was no evidence found for (1) transport by ocean currents, the analyses showed signals of (2) wind transport indicating dry conditions associated with a cool climate and (3) fluvial transport that points to humid and warm conditions. Three climatic phases were defined. The first phase from 13.8 to 11.8 Myr reveals a stable humid climate in Southwest Africa independent of the Antarctic glaciations. During the second phase from 11.8 to 10.4 Myr the regional climate cooled considerably but was not drier. Additionally, the climate during this phase reacted to the Antarctic glaciations. This cooling-trend continued during phase 3 from 10.4 to 9.0 Myr with a significant increase in dust input, pointing to overall drier conditions. However, fluvial transport still remained as the main source.