Data


Speleothem growth phases in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt reveal enhanced humidity throughout MIS 5

Abstract

Speleothem deposits in nowadays arid environments are important climate archives, as they indicate phases of enhanced precipitation and can precisely be dated by uranium-series dating. So far only very few of such archives have been found in the today hyper-arid Saharo-Arabian Desert (SAD). Therefore, the study at hand fills a gap that exists for speleothem climate archives in Northeast Africa. A new record from Saqia Cave (Central Eastern Desert, Egypt) documents for the first-time speleothem growth in Egypt for all sub-stages of MIS 5 and singular phases during MIS 6. Most important growth phases occur during periods of strong increase and maximum orbitally-forced northern hemisphere insolation, but also during phases of low insolation, which are in general attributed to aridity in North Africa. Here, at least semi-arid climate conditions are proposed for periods of low insolation during stadials of MIS 5. This suggests an impact of different possible sources of precipitation, apart from large scale shifts of the African monsoon, such as Red Sea Troughs, tropical plums and a larger spatial extent of the Mediterranean winter-rainfall zone.

Concerning the spatial rainfall pattern in Egypt, we propose a considerable east to west rainfall gradient in Egypt for the Last Interglacial and suggest a stronger impact of variable moisture sources in the Eastern Desert near the Mediterranean and Red Sea in comparison to the more continental Western Desert of Egypt. This reveals more favorable pre-conditions for an enhanced land use potential in the past. Therefore, the more sustaining wetter climate in the Eastern Desert point to a recurring feasible dispersal corridor for Homo sapiens from the tropical climate into the temperate climate regime throughout MIS 5. Such a more humid climate provided an ideal basis for long-term, favorable environmental conditions east of the Nile Valley, creating a kind of contiguous landscape corridor that may have been attractive to humans and wildlife alike, linking the East African tropical climate regime with that of the temperate zone in Northeast Africa and Eurasia.

Bibliography

Henselowsky, F., Eichstädter, R., Schröder-Ritzrau, A., Herwartz, D., Almoazamy, A., Frank, N., Kindermann, K., Bubenzer, O. (2021): Speleothem growth phases in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt reveal enhanced humidity throughout MIS 5. – In: Quaternary International, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2021.05.006

Authors Henselowsky, Felix and Eichstädter, Rene and Schröder-Ritzrau, Andrea and Herwartz, Daniel and Almoazamy, Ahmed and Frank, Norbert and Kindermann, Karin and Bubenzer, Olaf
Type article
Title Speleothem growth phases in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt reveal enhanced humidity throughout MIS 5
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040618221002913?via%3Dihub
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2021.05.006
Journal Quaternary International
Year 2021
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