Palaeo-geoecological significance of Pleistocene trees in the Lluta Valley, Atacama Desert

Veit, Heinz; May, Jan-Hendrik; Madella, Andrea; Delunel, Romain; Schlunegger, Fritz; Szidat, Sönke; Capriles, José M. (2016). Palaeo-geoecological significance of Pleistocene trees in the Lluta Valley, Atacama Desert. Journal of quaternary science JQS, 31(3), pp. 203-213. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 10.1002/jqs.2857

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In the Lluta Valley, northern Chile, climate is hyperarid and vegetation is restricted to the valley floors and lowermost footslopes. Fossil tree trunks and leaves of predominantly Escallonia angustifolia, however, are abundant up to ∼15 m above the present valley floor, where they are intercalated with slope deposits, reflecting higher water levels in the past. A total of 17 samples have been radiocarbon dated, yielding ages between 38 and 15k cal a BP. The youngest ages of 15.4k cal a BP are interpreted as reflecting the beginning of river incision and lowering of the valley floor, impeding the further growth of trees at higher parts of the slopes. The most plausible scenario for this observation is intensified river incision after 15.4k cal a BP due to increased stream power and runoff from the Río Lluta headwaters in the Western Cordillera and Altiplano corresponding to the highstand of the Tauca and Central Andean Pluvial Event (CAPE) wet phase.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Paleo-Geoecology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Departement of Chemistry and Biochemistry
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Veit, Heinz; May, Jan-Hendrik; Madella, Andrea; Delunel, Romain; Schlunegger, Fritz and Szidat, Sönke

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

0267-8179

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Language:

English

Submitter:

Andrea Madella

Date Deposited:

23 Aug 2016 13:02

Last Modified:

23 Aug 2016 13:02

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/jqs.2857

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.82121

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82121

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