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Title: The antiquity of the Sahara Desert: New evidence from the mineralogy and geochemistry of Pliocene paleosols on the Canary Islands, Spain
Authors: Muhs, Daniel R.
Meco Cabrera, Joaquín Francisco 
Budahn, James R.
Skipp, Gary L.
Betancort, Juan F.
Lomoschitz, Alejandro 
UNESCO Clasification: 2416 Paleontología
Keywords: Rare Earth Elements
Sea Level History
North Atlantic
Gran Canaria
Tropical Atlantic, et al
Issue Date: 2019
Journal: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 
Abstract: The Sahara is the largest warm desert in the world, but its age has been controversial, with estimates ranging from Miocene to Holocene. Mineralogical and geochemical data show that paleosols of Pliocene to mid Pleistocene age on Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands have developed in part from inputs of dust from Africa. These paleosols contain quartz and mica, minerals that are abundant in African dust but are rare in the basaltic rocks that dominate the Canary Islands. Trace elements with minimal mobility, Sc, Cr, Hf, Th, and Ta as well as the rare earth elements, show that paleosols have compositions that are intermediate between those of local rocks and African-derived dust. Thus, results reported here and in a recently published study by others indicate that 9 paleosols record delivery of African dust to the Canary Islands between similar to 4.8-2.8 Ma, similar to 3.0-2.9 Ma, similar to 2.3-1.46 Ma, and similar to 0.4 Ma. A long-term paleosol record of African dust input agrees with deepsea records off the coast of western Africa that imply increased dust fluxes to the eastern Atlantic Ocean at similar to 4.6 Ma. It is concluded that the Sahara Desert has been in existence as an arid-region dust source, at least intermittently, for much of the Pliocene and continuing into the Pleistocene.
ISSN: 0031-0182
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109245
Source: Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology [ISSN 0031-0182], v. 533, 109245, (Noviembre 2019)
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