West Cameroon Quaternary lacustrine deposits: preliminary results

J. Maley, D. A. Livingstone, P. Giresse, P. Brenac, G. Kling, C. Stager, N. Thouveny, K. Kelts, M. Haag, M. Fournier, Y. Bandet, D. Williamson, A. Zogning

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We present preliminary results from the study of a 23.50 m core (BM-6) representing the last 25 000 years. The core was collected in Barombi Mbo, an explosion crater lake formed probably during the Quaternary. The finely laminated sediment are composed mostly of dark brown to green clay rich organic matter (5-10% organic carbon). Each couplet is commonly composed of a lower unit rich in quartz, plant debris, muscovite and sponge spicules, and of a more clayey upper unit often with siderite (FeCO3) crystals. The average periodicity for one couplet is between 6 and 20 radiocarbon years. The pollen results, which are compared with those of another forested site in Ghana, demonstrate the presence of a forest refuge in West Cameroon during the last major arid period, about 18 000 years BP. At the same time that equatorial forest was broken up, elements of montain vegetation descended to the lowlands. To provide an explanation for these phenomena marked by a drying and cooling of the climate, modern examples of extensions of montain biotopes to low altitude are described. These localized extensions are due to the persistence of cloud cover, often of stratiform type, generated over the relatively cold water of ocean upwellings. Such lowering of sea-surface temperature might be the primary regional cause of the changes of climate and vegetation that occurred in humid tropical Africa. The upwelling, presently synchronous throughout the Guinea Gulf, amplify the trade winds, which could account for the observed changes inland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1991

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