Aspects of late Cainozoic Aeolian landscapes in Arabia: implications for early Man

Munro, R.N., Walkington, H., Franks, S., Wilkinson, T.J. and Sanderson, D.C.W. (2013) Aspects of late Cainozoic Aeolian landscapes in Arabia: implications for early Man. In: Al-Ansary, A.R., Al-Muaikel, K.I. and Alsharekh, A.M. (eds.) Man and Environment in the Arab World in Light of Archaeological Discoveries. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudairy Foundation: Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia, pp. 7-46. ISBN 9786039032656

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Active sand seas of the Arabian Peninsula are well-known - the Nafud, Ad-Dahna, Al Jafura, Ar Rub al Khali, Ar Ramlat Sabatain, and the Wahiba - and some of these are known too to be underlain by the cores of older dunes. This research examines other significant, and relatively unknown, regions with Pre-Holocene sand accumulation and relict dune status, in six field areas of Arabia. Our work, a reconnaissance, has looked at the chronology of these aeolian formations in Arabia; how they appear to have been linked in space and time; and the features of dune paleosols. Numerous previous reviews of aeolian geomorphology miss the importance of ancient dunes in Arabia but, our observations apart, published data relating to these has been accululating in the geo-literature for over 50 years. From observations made over large parts of Arabia it is apparent that: modern and active dunes can be underaline by older aeolian formations, and that abrupt soil morphological changes may occur between these units; that older aeolian sand deposits can be covered and buried by gravelly to loamy alluvium and soils; and that traces or relicts of even more ancient aeolian features appear to be quite widespread. Our OSL dates indicate that aeolian activity was present at 275ka, the oldest known to date. In addition, it is our view that the Arabian Peninsula shows traces of past aeolian landscapes that could take the record of aridity in Arabia far back, certainly to the Early Pleistocene, and probably into the late Tertiary. It is hoped that this work will stimulate investigations at more detailed levels on how these sandy lands might have been utilised in the past by wildlife, domesticated animals and man.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sanderson, Professor David
Authors: Munro, R.N., Walkington, H., Franks, S., Wilkinson, T.J., and Sanderson, D.C.W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Publisher:Abdul Rahman Al-Sudairy Foundation

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