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Climate and environmental changes recorded in Late Quaternary lake deposits in the Arabian Desert

Applicant Preusser Frank
Number 131887
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.12.2010 - 31.12.2011
Approved amount 69'678.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Geology
Geochemistry
Geochronology
Palaeontology

Keywords (9)

Palaeoclimate; Arabia; Humid periods; Monsoon; Pleistocene; Holocene; Quaternary; human migration; dating

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Climate of the Arabian Peninsula is intimately tied to the climate systems of the North Atlantic/Siberian pressure system and the African/Asian Monsoon. It is thus ideally situated to study how and to what extent both systems were dynamically linked in the past. The area is also of great value for understanding the migration of Homo sapiens "out of Africa". Regardless its key position, surprisingly few attempts have been made to reconstruct past environmental conditions in this region. There is clear geological and biological evidence that intervals of increased precipitation led to a profound change in the climatic and environmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Until now, however, the exact timing and detailed environmental characteristics of these pluvial episodes, especially for pre-Holocene times, have remained poorly constrained.This research proposal aims to continue investigating ancient lake deposits on the Arabian Peninsula as archives of past environmental conditions. An important objective of this project regards the presently controversial ages of the lake deposits that will be investigated using a combination of different dating methods (optically stimulated luminescence, Uranium series, amino acid racemisation). Furthermore, we will provide a detailed reconstruction of environmental conditions during lake formation using various biological (ichnofossils, pollen, phytoliths, ostracods, charophytes, foraminifera, molluscs) and stable isotope climate proxies.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A comparison of single and multiple aliquot TT-OSL data sets for sand-sized quartz from the Arabian Peninsula
Rosenberg Thomas et al., A comparison of single and multiple aliquot TT-OSL data sets for sand-sized quartz from the Arabian Peninsula, in Radiation Measurements, 46, 573-579.
Faunal evidence of a Holocene pluvial phase in Southern Arabia with remarks on the morphological variability of Helenina anderseni
Gennari G. et al., Faunal evidence of a Holocene pluvial phase in Southern Arabia with remarks on the morphological variability of Helenina anderseni, in Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 41, 313-325.
Late Pleistocene palaeolake in the interior of Oman: A potential key-area for the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out-of-Africa?
Rosenberg Thomas et al., Late Pleistocene palaeolake in the interior of Oman: A potential key-area for the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out-of-Africa?, in Journal of Quaternary Science , 27, 13-16.
Late Pleistocene pluvial periods in southern Arabia - Windows of opportunity for modern human dispersal
Rosenberg Thomas et al., Late Pleistocene pluvial periods in southern Arabia - Windows of opportunity for modern human dispersal, in Geology, 39, 1115-1118.

Scientific events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Climate change and prehistoric occupation of the Arabian Peninsula 19.07.2011 Bern

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
117374 Up-grade of luminescence dating facilities 01.12.2007 R'EQUIP
117985 Climate and environmental changes recorded in Late Quaternary lake deposits in the Saudi Arabian Desert 01.12.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Climate of the Arabian Peninsula is intimately tied to the climate systems of the North Atlantic/Siberian pressure system and the African/Asian Monsoon. It is thus ideally situated to study how and to what extent both systems were dynamically linked in the past. The area is also of great value for understanding the migration of Homo sapiens “out of Africa”. Regardless its key position, surprisingly few attempts have been made to reconstruct past environmental conditions in this region. There is clear geological and biological evidence that intervals of increased precipitation led to a profound change in the climatic and environmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Until now, however, the exact timing and detailed environmental characteristics of these pluvial episodes, especially for pre-Holocene times, have remained poorly constrained.This research proposal asks for a one year extension of SNF project 20021-12671 and aims to continue investigating ancient lake deposits on the Arabian Peninsula as archives of past environmental conditions. An important objective of this project regards the presently controversial ages of the lake deposits that will be investigated using a combination of different dating methods (optically stimulated luminescence, Uranium series, amino acid racemisation). Furthermore, we will provide a detailed reconstruction of environmental conditions during lake formation using various biological (ichnofossils, pollen, phytoliths, ostracods, charophytes, foraminifera, molluscs) and stable isotope climate proxies.The applicants have carried out one fieldtrip to the SW Rub’ al-Khali, one to central Oman, and fieldwork in northern Saudi Arabia is scheduled for March/April 2010. Logistical support was provided by the Saudi Geological Survey for the first and last field trip. Considering the limited accessibility of the region, the need for official permits and logistical support by SGS, this collaboration represents a unique opportunity to carry out palaeoclimate research in this key-area. The results anticipated for the project extension will complement the already achieved data and significantly improve the knowledge of the palaeo-environmental history of Arabia. The extension of this project will allow us to gather data to complete a N-S transect across Arabia in order to account for spatial differences in palaeoclimate conditions.
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