A late Pilocene age for the Atacama Desert: Implications for the desertification of Western South America

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

206 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Atacama Desert forms one of the major hyperarid deserts of the world. Previous studies suggest that desertification commenced at 14 Ma during global climate desiccation. Sedimentologic data from middle Miocene to upper Pliocene successions in the modern Atacama Desert indicate that a semiarid climate persisted from 8 to 3 Ma, punctuated by a phase of increased aridity at ca. 6 Ma. As such, hyperaridity did not commence until the late Pliocene. Implications are (1) that the rain shadow generated by the Andean Cordillera has had a minor influence on climate change, and (2) that the upwelling, northflowing, cold Humboldt Current, although important in establishing the generally and climate of western South America, did not control the shift to hyperaridity. The formation of the hyperarid Atacama Desert in the late Pliocene accompanied the development of the current phase of aridification in the Sahara and Namib Deserts and is attributed to a phase of global climate cooling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages3
JournalGeology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002

Keywords

  • Atacama
  • desertification
  • Chile
  • Andes
  • climate change
  • ANDEAN FORE-ARC
  • NORTHERN CHILE
  • CLIMATIC-CHANGE
  • BASIN
  • ENRICHMENT
  • EVOLUTION
  • RECORD
  • SYSTEM
  • PERU

Cite this

A late Pilocene age for the Atacama Desert: Implications for the desertification of Western South America. / Hartley, Adrian John; Chong, G.

In: Geology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 01.2002, p. 43-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{2f7d8965e23b4b40bbbaa2f0f75ce0aa,
title = "A late Pilocene age for the Atacama Desert: Implications for the desertification of Western South America",
abstract = "The Atacama Desert forms one of the major hyperarid deserts of the world. Previous studies suggest that desertification commenced at 14 Ma during global climate desiccation. Sedimentologic data from middle Miocene to upper Pliocene successions in the modern Atacama Desert indicate that a semiarid climate persisted from 8 to 3 Ma, punctuated by a phase of increased aridity at ca. 6 Ma. As such, hyperaridity did not commence until the late Pliocene. Implications are (1) that the rain shadow generated by the Andean Cordillera has had a minor influence on climate change, and (2) that the upwelling, northflowing, cold Humboldt Current, although important in establishing the generally and climate of western South America, did not control the shift to hyperaridity. The formation of the hyperarid Atacama Desert in the late Pliocene accompanied the development of the current phase of aridification in the Sahara and Namib Deserts and is attributed to a phase of global climate cooling.",
keywords = "Atacama, desertification, Chile, Andes, climate change, ANDEAN FORE-ARC, NORTHERN CHILE, CLIMATIC-CHANGE, BASIN, ENRICHMENT, EVOLUTION, RECORD, SYSTEM, PERU",
author = "Hartley, {Adrian John} and G. Chong",
year = "2002",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0043:LPAFTA>2.0.CO;2",
language = "English",
volume = "30",
pages = "43--46",
journal = "Geology",
issn = "0091-7613",
publisher = "GEOLOGICAL SOC AMER, INC",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A late Pilocene age for the Atacama Desert: Implications for the desertification of Western South America

AU - Hartley, Adrian John

AU - Chong, G.

PY - 2002/1

Y1 - 2002/1

N2 - The Atacama Desert forms one of the major hyperarid deserts of the world. Previous studies suggest that desertification commenced at 14 Ma during global climate desiccation. Sedimentologic data from middle Miocene to upper Pliocene successions in the modern Atacama Desert indicate that a semiarid climate persisted from 8 to 3 Ma, punctuated by a phase of increased aridity at ca. 6 Ma. As such, hyperaridity did not commence until the late Pliocene. Implications are (1) that the rain shadow generated by the Andean Cordillera has had a minor influence on climate change, and (2) that the upwelling, northflowing, cold Humboldt Current, although important in establishing the generally and climate of western South America, did not control the shift to hyperaridity. The formation of the hyperarid Atacama Desert in the late Pliocene accompanied the development of the current phase of aridification in the Sahara and Namib Deserts and is attributed to a phase of global climate cooling.

AB - The Atacama Desert forms one of the major hyperarid deserts of the world. Previous studies suggest that desertification commenced at 14 Ma during global climate desiccation. Sedimentologic data from middle Miocene to upper Pliocene successions in the modern Atacama Desert indicate that a semiarid climate persisted from 8 to 3 Ma, punctuated by a phase of increased aridity at ca. 6 Ma. As such, hyperaridity did not commence until the late Pliocene. Implications are (1) that the rain shadow generated by the Andean Cordillera has had a minor influence on climate change, and (2) that the upwelling, northflowing, cold Humboldt Current, although important in establishing the generally and climate of western South America, did not control the shift to hyperaridity. The formation of the hyperarid Atacama Desert in the late Pliocene accompanied the development of the current phase of aridification in the Sahara and Namib Deserts and is attributed to a phase of global climate cooling.

KW - Atacama

KW - desertification

KW - Chile

KW - Andes

KW - climate change

KW - ANDEAN FORE-ARC

KW - NORTHERN CHILE

KW - CLIMATIC-CHANGE

KW - BASIN

KW - ENRICHMENT

KW - EVOLUTION

KW - RECORD

KW - SYSTEM

KW - PERU

U2 - 10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0043:LPAFTA>2.0.CO;2

DO - 10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0043:LPAFTA>2.0.CO;2

M3 - Article

VL - 30

SP - 43

EP - 46

JO - Geology

JF - Geology

SN - 0091-7613

IS - 1

ER -