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Paleoecology reconstruction from trapped gases in a fulgurite from the late Pleistocene of the Libyan Desert

Geology

By:
, , , , , , ,
DOI: 10.1130/G23246A.1

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Abstract

When lightning strikes the ground, it heats, melts, and fuses the sand in soils to form glass tubes known as fulgurites. We report here the composition of CO2, CO, and NO contained within the glassy bubbles of a fulgurite from the Libyan Desert. The results show that the fulgurite formed when the ground contained 0.1 wt% organic carbon with a C/N ratio of 10-15 and a ??13C of -13.96???, compositions similar to those found in the present-day semiarid region of the Sahel, where the vegetation is dominated by C4, plants. Thermoluminescence dating indicates that this fulgurite formed ???15 k.y. ago. These results imply that the semiarid Sahel (at 17??N) reached at least to 24??N at this time, and demonstrate that fulgurite gases and luminescence geochronology can be used in quantitative paleoecology. ?? 2007 Geological Society of America.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Paleoecology reconstruction from trapped gases in a fulgurite from the late Pleistocene of the Libyan Desert
Series title:
Geology
DOI:
10.1130/G23246A.1
Volume
35
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geology
First page:
171
Last page:
174
Number of Pages:
4