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Freshwater to marine-like environments from Holocene lakes in northern Sahara


Continuous swamp and lacustrine sequences from the northern edge of the Great Western Erg are dated at 9,300–3,000 yr BP. Diatoms, ostracods, molluscs and foraminifera show great changes in salinity, ranging from freshwater to marine-like environments. The stable isotope composition of carbonates indicates that the evaporation of groundwater supplies is responsible for these fluctuations in salt contents. Until now, evidence for the occurrence of a wet climatic phase of early and middle holocene age in the north-north-west Sahara was based on a restricted number of 14C dates from scattered lacustrine deposits and paleosols1–8. The present study complements this knowledge and highlights the importance of local hydrological factors in interpreting palaeolimnological changes.

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Fontes, J., Gasse, F., Callot, Y. et al. Freshwater to marine-like environments from Holocene lakes in northern Sahara. Nature 317, 608–610 (1985).

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