Ethiopia had warmer soil and higher rainfall 27 million years ago

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, October 26 (ANI): A new research has suggested that the African nation of Ethiopia had warmer soil temperatures, higher rainfall and different atmospheric circulation patterns 27 million years than it does today.

The research was done by Neil J. Tabor, associate professor of Earth Sciences at SMU (Southern Methodist University).

He calculated past climate using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in minerals from fossil soils discovered in the highlands of northwest Ethiopia.

The highlands represent the bulk of the mountains on the African continent.

Tabor's research supplies a picture of the paleo landscape of Ethiopia that wasn't previously known because the fossil record for the tropics has not been well established.

The fossils were discovered in the grass-covered agricultural region known as Chilga, which was a forest in prehistoric times.

Tabor's research looked at soil fossils dating from 26.7 million to 32 million years ago.

"Fossil plants and vertebrates in the Chilga Beds date from 26.7 million to 28.1 million years ago," Tabor said.

From his examination, Tabor determined there was a lower and older layer of coal and underclay that was a poorly drained, swampy landscape dissected by well-drained Oxisol-forming uplands.

A younger upper layer of the Chilga Beds consists of mudstones and sandstones in what was an open landscape dominated by braided, meandering fluvial stream systems.

Tabor is part of a multi-disciplinary team combining independent lines of evidence from various fossil and geochemical sources to reconstruct the prehistoric climate, landscape and ecosystems of Ethiopia, as well as Africa. (ANI)

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