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Palynological Evidence for Increased Aridity on the Central Chilean Coast during the Holocene

  • Carolina Villagrán (a1) and Juan Varela (a2)

The late Quaternary vegetation of the semiarid coast of central Chile is inferred from the palynological analysis of profiles from Quereo (31°55′S) and Quintero (32°47′S). Prior to 11,400 yr B.P., wet conditions are suggested by the abundance of pollen indicators of swamp and aquatic taxa, such as Cyperaceae and Myriophyllum, and by the presence of traces of arboreal pollen. Since ca. 10,000 yr B.P., a trend toward increasingly drier conditions is implied by the almost complete absence of arboreal and aquatic taxa, and a general decrease in the diversity of the semiarid shrubland indicators. From 3000 yr B.P. onward, the pollen records show the reappearance of swamp and aquatic taxa, presumably associated with wetter conditions, which led to recolonization by forest taxa at 1720 yr B.P. in Quintero. The drier climate detected along the semiarid coast of central Chile during most of the Holocene extended inland to the Andean foot-hills, within the present mediterranean-type climate zone of Chile, and also affected the distribution of the winter-deciduous Nothofagus forests and the northern boundary of the temperate rain forests.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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