Late quaternary palaeoclimates of western India : A geoarchaeological approach
Keywords:Late quaternary palaeoclimates, Western India, Geoarchology
Western India comprises parts of the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. This region has varied climate and landscape. Northwestern Rajasthan is an area of internal drainage, with dunes, playas and rocky pediments. The Luni, Sabarmati and Mahi basins to the south of this zone show the influence of both aeolian and fluvial processes. Aeolian landforms are absent in the Nrmada, Tapi, Godavari and Bhima basins and fluvial aggradation has alternated with erosion in response to climatic change. Dominance of semi-arid to arid climate throughtout the Quaternary in the entire region has ment that Quaternary geological processes have been weak, preserving many features of the Tertiary in the present landscape. The variation in the geomorphic processes shaping the landscape and the complex links between geomorphic proceses and climate mean that our understanding of palaeoclimates in western India in far from complete. This paper gives an overview of the Late Quaternary palaeoclimate of western India, based primarily on recent work by the authors in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Some issues in the palaeoclimatic interpretation of the geological record are discussed. Signatures of Late Pleistocene aridity, fluctuating climate during the Pleistocene Holocene transitional period, early Holocene humid climate and increased aridity from the middle Holocene onwards are reflected in different ways in the different landscape settings.
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