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Paleoclimate Proxies: Miocene to Recent Precipitation History of the Atacama Desert

Research areas: Geology and Paleontology

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Martin Melles, Dr. Volker Wennrich

The primary goal of this subproject is to provide continuous long-term (Quaternary-Miocene) information concerning the climatic/environmental history of the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert (Fig.1 in Sect. 1.2) that is currently lacking. To achieve this goal we want to core and investigate sediments from endorheic basins in the Coastal Cordillera, which cover the last >10 Ma. Most of these basins were formed by blocking of drainage by fault movement, and thus have recorded the tectonic history of the study area (C05).

They contain clastic sediments (presently dominated by silt) from sporadic riverine input, with accompanying authigenic minerals. Salars, which also occur in the study area, will not be targets in the first phase. The chronologies of the sediment records are expected to tie the inherently coarse chronology of biological (B01 to B04) and landscape evolution (C01 to C05) to climate records of higher temporal resolution. Fossil pollen and phytolith assemblages in the sediments shall provide information on past vegetation dynamics in the central Atacama and its climatic drivers (B01), and thus on potential migration paths of insects (B02). Sedimentation rates, grain-sizes and mineralogy of the cores will be used to reconstruct the chronology and the modes of weathering and erosion in the catchments (C01, C02, C03, C06).

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Prof. Dr. Tibor J. Dunai
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne
Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49-(0)221-470 2634 | tduanai@uni-koeln.de
Dr. Maximilian Müller
Institute of Geography | University of Cologne

Otto-Fischer-Str. 4 | 50674 Cologne
+49-(0)221-470 2241 | maximilian.mueller@uni-koeln.de
Deputy Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Martin Melles
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49a | 50674 Cologne
+49-(0)221-470 2262 | mmelles@uni-koeln.de
© 2017 CRC1211 - Earth - Evolution at the Dry Limit

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