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Quaternary Deposits in Southwestern Afghanistan

  • George I. Smith (a1)

Abstract

Geologic evidence in the closed Seistan Basin of southwestern Afghanistan and adjacent parts of Iran and Pakistan indicates that a lake as much as 65,000 sq km in size occupied this closed depression during Pleistocene time. The deposits consist mostly of lacustrine silt and clay and have a maximum observed thickness of about 250 m. A layer of alluvial gravels overlies the sequence. The deposits are probably early or middle Pleistocene in age; they are old enough to have sustained nearly 300 m of erosion over large areas but are not faulted or detectably folded in the central part of the basin although they are upwarped along the west edge of the basin.

Sand dunes cover extensive areas of the basin. Dune orientation shows that the strong surface winds enter the basin blowing toward the south-southeast and then are deflected to the east, apparently as a response to mountains bordering the basin on its south side. The Gawdezereh, a large deflation depression, may be a result of an augmented excavation ability of winds that occurs where turbulence is created along a zone of deflection.

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Quaternary Deposits in Southwestern Afghanistan

  • George I. Smith (a1)

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