Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 117–131 | Cite as

Vegetation and climatic history of southwest Africa: A marine palynological record of the last 300,000 years

  • Shi Ning
  • Lydie M. Dupont


A continuous palynological record from the marine core GeoB1016-3 from the Angola Basin reveals the regional vegetation and climate history of the last 300 ka. Pollen and spores found at the studied site have their source areas in the different vegetation zones of the adjacent part of the West African continent. Those vegetation zones comprise tropical rain forest, coastal mangrove swamp, Miombo woodland, dry forest, Afromontane forest, desert and semi-desert. The main pollen transport agent is the southeast trade wind system. Ocean currents also partly play a role in transporting pollen and spores. During the interglacial periods, ocean currents also transported palynomorphs southward. During the glacial periods, increased trade winds are indicated by high influx of pollen and spores and high pollen percentages of Poaceae and taxa from desert and semidesert vegetations. Reconstruction of the geographical position of palaeo-vegetation zones shows that the northern boundary of the Namib Desert did not move north of 12°S during the last 300 ka. This implies that northward shifts of the Angola-Benguela Front did not pass the latitude of 12°S.

Key words

Marine palynology Vegetation history Climate change Ocean currents Southwest Africa 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shi Ning
    • 1
  • Lydie M. Dupont
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Palynology and Quaternary SciencesUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.GeosciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

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