Past Denudation Rates in Tropical Africa

Denudation is a key parameter in controlling the dynamics of the Earth’s and understanding “how, when, and where” denudation rates respond to climate change is critical especially to forecats futur changes of our environment. The goal of the PANTERA project is to provide a reliable, detailed and direct record of denudation during the late Neogene a period where intense change in denudation are belived in repsonse to global and rpaid cooling of the Earth climate.

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One of the major climate changes that have occurred in the past is the global cooling that took place during the late Neogene. Synchronously with this cooling, over the last 3-4 Ma, sediment volumes exported in marine and continental basin display an apparent 3-fold increase. Because this Pleistocene denudation increase is believed to have occurred in various tectonic settings, and in both glaciated and non-glaciated regions, it has been assigned mainly to the onset of the high-frequency Quaternary climate cycles and less to erosion by the glaciers themselves. Despite the various techniques and methods that have been used to investigate the impact of the Quaternary glaciations on denudation, whether this Quaternary acceleration really occurred has not yet been confirmed and the debate remains open. Most of the existing denudation dataset were reconstructed in regions that are, or were, glaciated and/or that are located in active mountain ranges. In such a setting, the denudation signal of the oscillating climate is likely obliterated by the direct effects of glaciers and, possibly, by tectonic forcing. Unraveling the part of the denudation signal linked only to climate oscillations relies on quantification of past denudation rates in regions that were neither glaciated nor tectonically active during the Quaternary.

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