Abstract

In the Namib Desert, indurated fossil dunes are found between the active sands. Establishment of a biostratigraphic scale based on associated mammal faunas and ratite eggshells allows the study of palaeowind fluctuations that have controlled these palaeodunes since the Middle Miocene with a temporal resolution of between 1 and 3 Ma. In the southern Namib, the Proto-Namib aeolian systems consist of crescent dunes (barkhan type). In the eastern part of the Namib Desert, the aeolianite cross-bedding corresponds to longitudinal or pyramidal dunes. These aeolian structures are also controlled by local winds, resulting from high relief and the southern trade winds : this regime is identical to that which currently sweeps, through the Namib Desert, and is related to the presence of anticyclonic conditions in the Atlantic Ocean. A regime of seasonal winds from the northeastern sector is also recorded starting in the late Miocene.

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