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Casting new light on late Quaternary environmental and palaeohydrological change in the Namib Desert A review of the application of optically stimulated luminescence in the region



Casting new light on late Quaternary environmental and palaeohydrological change in the Namib Desert A review of the application of optically stimulated luminescence in the region



Journal of Arid Environments 93: 40-58



The application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating in the Namib Desert is casting new light on late Quaternary environments. OSL has been applied to: (i) complex linear dunes, alongside ground penetrating radar stratigraphy in order to establish dune migration rates, (ii) fluvial lithofacies associations that distinguish between flood deposits and river end points, in order to constrain the timing of periods of higher discharge and conditions relatively drier than present and (iii) aeolian sand interbedded with carbonate deposits in order to provide chronologies for water-lain interdune sediments. We present and review the contribution of these data to enhancing reconstructions of the palaeoenvironments and palaeohydrology of the west coast of Namibia, particularly the increased confidence in interpretations provided by lithofacies analysis of the river deposits. This includes major silt deposits, which have had a contested palaeohydrological interpretation, such as the Kuiseb River Homeb Silts. We conclude that OSL should remain a key chronological technique to further elucidate the palaeoenvironmental history of southern Africa.

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Accession: 036356120

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.01.009


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