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Australian climate and vegetation, known from marine and lacustrine sediments and fossils, varied dramatically throughout the Cenozoic Era, with several warm reversals superimposed on overall drying and cooling. A suite of landforms, including stony deserts, dunefields and playa lakes, formed in response to the advancing aridity but their age generally remained uncertain until fairly recently, owing to a lack of suitable dating methods. Within the last 5 years, the chronology of Late Quaternary fluctuations of lakes, dunes and dust-mantles has been established by luminescence dating methods, and mid-Pleistocene onset of playa conditions in a few closed basins has been...

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