Letter | Published:

Pleistocene phosphorites off the west coast of South Africa

Naturevolume 302pages601603 (1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

We report here relatively modern phosphogenesis on the continental margin off South Africa, where palaeontologically old limestone (middle Eocene–middle Miocene) has been phosphatized in late Pleistocene times (62–76 kyr) in an area of only moderate and seasonal present-day upwelling1,2. Previously, modern phosphogenesis had been reported as occurring only off Namibia3–15, Peru/Chile16–21 and very recently, east Australia22,23. This report, and those describing the late Quaternary east Australia phosphorite22,23, suggest that, contrary to established opinion, strongly enhanced upwelling may not be necessary for phosphorite formation and that oceanic phos-phogenic models need not be based exclusively on localized oceanographie regimes such as exist off Peru and Namibia.

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Affiliations

  1. Marine Geoscience, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, Cape Town, South Africa

    • G. F. Birch
  2. Institute of Oceanographie Sciences, Godalming, Wormley, Surrey, GU8 5UB, UK

    • J. Thomson
  3. Department of Geology, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK

    • J. M. McArthur
  4. Department of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32306, USA

    • W. C. Burnett

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https://doi.org/10.1038/302601a0

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