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Development and Environmental Significance of an Eolian Sand Ramp of Last-Glacial Age, Central Iran

  • David S.G. Thomas (a1), Mark D. Bateman (a1), Daryoush Mehrshahi (a1) and Sarah L. O'Hara (a1)

Abstract

A 25-m-thick section of mostly eolian sediment is exposed in the stream-cut flank of a sand ramp accumulated in a mountain saddle near Ardakan playa, central Iran. The well-sorted eolian sediments of the ramp contain talus beds and incipient paleosols. Morphology and bedding structures imply that southeasterly winds were primarily responsible for deposition of the eolian sand. Optical dating shows that the sand was deposited near the last glacial maximum within about 5000 yr. Surface stabilization, lack of surface scree, and the development of a stream cut between the mountain and the ramp show that sediment accumulation ceased after this time. The Siberian high pressure system may have been established over central Iran during the last glacial maximum, causing cooler temperatures and a prevalence of southeasterly winds. These colder, windier conditions would have led to frost shattering and eolian transport, both of which are not significant processes today but which are evident as past processes from the ramp sediments.

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