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Palynological evidence for climatic and oceanic variability off NW Africa during the late Holocene

  • Ilham Bouimetarhan (a1) (a2), Lydie Dupont (a2), Enno Schefuß (a2), Gesine Mollenhauer (a1) (a3), Stefan Mulitza (a2) and Karin Zonneveld (a1) (a2)...

Pollen and organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst assemblages from core GeoB 9503-5 retrieved from the mud-belt (∼ 50 m water depth) off the Senegal River mouth have been analyzed to reconstruct short-term palaeoceanographic and palaeoenvironmental changes in subtropical NW Africa during the time interval from ca. 4200 to 1200 cal yr BP. Our study emphasizes significant coeval changes in continental and oceanic environments in and off Senegal and shows that initial dry conditions were followed by a strong and rapid increase in humidity between ca. 2900 and 2500 cal yr BP. After ca. 2500 cal yr BP, the environment slowly became drier again as indicated by slight increases in Sahelian savannah and desert elements in the pollen record. Around ca. 2200 cal yr BP, this relatively dry period ended with periodic pulses of high terrigenous contributions and strong fluctuations in fern spore and river plume dinoflagellate cyst percentages as well as in the fluxes of pollen, dinoflagellate cysts, fresh-water algae and plant cuticles, suggesting “episodic flash flood” events of the Senegal River. The driest phase developed after about 2100 cal yr BP.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Klagenfurterstrasse, D-28359 Bremen, Germany. Tel.: +49 421 218 65138; fax: +49 421 218 4451.

E-mail address: (I. Bouimetarhan).

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