Late Quaternary Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction in the Burydah Area, Central Saudi Arabia
thesisposted on 23.03.2012, 12:10 by Ahmed Al dughairi
Although investigations to find evidence for Quaternary environmental changes is conducted in Africa and the south Arabian Peninsula, in Saudi Arabia there are also vast areas covered with deposits that preserve detailed Quaternary histories of past climatic events. Unfortunately to date much of Saudi Arabia has not been explored in terms of past climatic changes, nor have in any sites been accurately dated using numerical dating techniques. As a result there is a scarcity of Quaternary palaeoclimatic archives set in a reliable temporal framework. This research aims to help remedy this situation through the examination and reconstruction of environmental changes in the area around Burydah, central Saudi Arabia. The findings of this research have shown evidence for significant wet phases in Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 7, as well as the MIS 5d, 5b and 5a, which coincide with wetter phases elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. A later wet phase is represented by palaeolake deposits formed in MIS4. Similar to most areas in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, there is no evidence of climatic conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), perhaps suggesting that conditions were hyper-arid with an environment that was erosive rather than depositional. Moving into the Holocene, interdune lake tufa deposits formed at MIS 1 c. 12-7ka. This research shows that dunes were forming during the early Holocene, as there were significant wet events in the Burydah, such as active wadis, and tufa deposits which formed at lake sites. Moving through to the mid-Holocene and towards present day, there is evidence for a drying out of the wadi systems and the establishment and growth of sand sheets covering the landscape. From c. 5ka onwards the Burydah area had become arid, with similar conditions to those that persist today.