Based on recent studies, the impact of global sea-level and climate change on the paleogeographic and sedimentary evolution of the Tertiary of the Lower Rhine Basin is analysed. It is shown that major changes in global climate and sea-level, such as the high-stand during the Middle Miocene climate optimum, the extreme low-stands near the base of the Tortonian and within the Messinian, are clearly reflected in the sedimentary succession. Continental climate curves, as reconstructed from Tertiary macrofloras of the Lower Rhine Basin, can be correlated with the marine, long-term isotope record. As shown by the analyses, a warm and humid climate with mean annual temperatures above 13°C and mean annual precipitation not below 1000 mm, persisted throughout the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene. Continental, high-resolution, climate data show that Late Miocene alternations of lignites and elastics are rather caused by tectonic and sedimentary processes (such as the repeated migration of the river system) than by major climate changes.
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