Main content area

An optical luminescence chronology for late Pleistocene aeolian activity in the Colombian and Venezuelan Llanos

Carr, Andrew S., Armitage, Simon J., Berrío, Juan-Carlos, Bilbao, Bibiana A., Boom, Arnoud
Quaternary Research 2016 v.85 pp. 299-312
basins, dry season, dunes, forests, isotopes, latitude, luminescence, rivers, savannas, sediments, shorelines, wind, Colombia, Venezuela
The lowland savannas (Llanos) of Colombia and Venezuela are covered by extensive aeolian landforms for which little chronological information exists. We present the first optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) age constraints for dunes in the Llanos Orientales of lowland Colombia and new ages for dunes in the Venezuelan Llanos. The sampled dunes are fully vegetated and show evidence of post-depositional erosion. Ages range from 4.5±0.4 to 66±4ka, with the majority dating to 27–10ka (Marine Isotope Stage 2). Some dunes accumulated quickly during the last glacial maximum, although most were active 16–10ka. Accretion largely ceased after 10ka. All dunes are elongated downwind from rivers, parallel with dry season winds, and are interpreted as source-bordering features. As they are presently isolated from fluvial sediments by gallery forest it is proposed that activity was associated with a more prolonged dry season, which restricted gallery forest, leading to greater sediment availability on river shorelines. Such variability in dry season duration was potentially mediated by the mean latitude of the ITCZ. The cessation of most dune accretion after ca. 10ka suggests reduced seasonality and a more northerly ITCZ position, consistent with evidence from the Cariaco Basin.