Additional multi-proxy stalagmite evidence from northeast Namibia supports recent models of wetter conditions during the 4.2 ka Event in the Southern Hemisphere

L. Bruce Railsback, Fuyuan Liang, George A. Brook, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The 4.2 ka Event has generally been regarded as a period of decades to at most a few centuries in which comparatively dry conditions existed in the Middle East and more broadly across the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere. This paper presents new stable-isotopic and petrographic observations from two previously-unreported U-Th-dated stalagmites from Dante Cave in northeastern Namibia. The results are most compatible with wetter conditions during the 4.2 ka Event, and wetness during the 4.2 ka Event is the only inference supported by evidence. These new results add to observations previously reported from a third Dante Cave stalagmite suggesting a comparatively wet 4.2 ka Event in which Africa's Tropical Rain Belt migrated southward and rainfall increased along the Congo Air Boundary and/or Kalahari Discontinuity. The new results support findings from three other locations in Namibia and Botswana, from at least seven other locations in the Southern Hemisphere, and at least one in southern China, that suggest a wetter rather than drier 4.2 ka Event in those regions. The pattern emerging from these sites generally agrees with recent modeling results indicating increased moisture over broad areas (but not all) of the Southern Hemisphere. This in turn suggests a 4.2 ka Event that was not a global drought but was instead a set of latitudinally-dependent responses to global-scale southward migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and thus Africa's loosely linked Tropical Rain Belt, as a result of cooling of the Northern Hemisphere, which brought drier conditions to some areas and wetter conditions to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110756
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume586
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Dante Cave
  • Holocene
  • Paleoclimate
  • Rainfall
  • Southern Africa

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