The Role of Sea-Level Rise in the Formation of Peatlands in Maputaland
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Peatlands act as information traps; archives reflecting changes in climate and environment, through pollen assemblages, sediment facies, plant fibre and C14 dating. The investigation of Maputaland peatlands presents an ideal opportunity to understand these changes during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The Maputaland peatlands in South Africa could be geographically divided into two distribution areas based on age: The Holocene age peatlands northwards of the Mkuze River inflow into Lake St. Lucia and the Late Pleistocene age peatlands south of this inflow. The grouping of peat thicknesses versus peat ages in a scatter diagram indicates distribution deviations from the ideal accumulation line. These might represent periods of low or negative growth and periods of positive or high rates of peat accumulation linked to changing climatic and ecological environments during the development of these peatlands. Erosional and depositional events appear to be closely related to local sea-level fluctuations during the Holocene. Periods of optimum peat accumulation correspond with Holocene sea-level maxima.
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