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Miocene climate and vegetation changes in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa: Evidence from biogeochemistry and palynology
Sciscio, L.; Tsikos, H.; Roberts, D.L.; Scott, L.; van Breugel, Y.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Schouten, S.; Grocke, D.R. (2016). Miocene climate and vegetation changes in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa: Evidence from biogeochemistry and palynology. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 445: 124-137. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.12.014
In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Elsevier: Amsterdam; Tokyo; Oxford; New York. ISSN 0031-0182, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Miocene; Palaeoclimate; Palynofloras; Glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs); Southern Hemisphere

Authors  Top 
  • Sciscio, L.
  • Tsikos, H.
  • Roberts, D.L.
  • Scott, L.
  • van Breugel, Y.
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more
  • Schouten, S., more
  • Grocke, D.R.

Abstract
    Organic material from the Noordhoek area on the western margin of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, wasobtained from a ~50 m-long drill-core dominated by fluvio-lacustrine siliciclastic sediments. The aim of thisstudy is to constrain fluctuations in climate and the decline of tropical vegetation elements along the southwesterncoast and the Cape Peninsula of South Africa, during the Late Cenozoic phase, when the Benguela upwellingsystem was established. The approach was to combine palynological, biogeochemical (tetraether lipids) andstable isotope (C, N) studies of the organic-bearing record from the Noordhoek area on the western margin ofthe Cape Peninsula. Bulk C and N isotope data of sediment organic matter, point to a predominantly C3 higherplant source vegetation. Mean annual air temperature (MAT) from the analyses of tetraether lipids (MBT'–CBTindex) was compared with palynomorphs from partly unpublished data of a previously drilled core adjacent tothe study site. The palynomorphs are of subtropical affinities, and suggest that an open riparian forest wouldhave existed in the early to middle Miocene of the southwestern coast of South Africa. Together these datasources allow vegetation and climate reconstructions of subtropical conditions during the early to middleMiocene, which comprised fluctuating open riparian forest and swamp vegetation. Temperatures rose in themiddle Miocene and were higher than those of the present day.

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