Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ethiopia's Climate 27 Million Years Ago Had Higher Rainfall, Warmer Soil

Date:
October 24, 2009
Source:
Southern Methodist University
Summary:
Thirty million years ago, Ethiopia had warmer soil temperatures, higher rainfall and different atmospheric circulation patterns than it does today, according to new research of fossil soils found in that central African nation.

Neil J. Tabor, associate professor of Earth Sciences at SMU.
Credit: Image courtesy of Southern Methodist University

Thirty million years ago, before Ethiopia's mountainous highlands split and the Great Rift Valley formed, the tropical zone had warmer soil temperatures, higher rainfall and different atmospheric circulation patterns than it does today, according to new research of fossil soils found in the central African nation.

Related Articles


Neil J. Tabor, associate professor of Earth Sciences at SMU and an expert in sedimentology and isotope geochemistry, calculated past climate using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in minerals from fossil soils discovered in the highlands of northwest Ethiopia. The highlands represent the bulk of the mountains on the African continent.

Tabor's research supplies a picture of the paleo landscape of Ethiopia that wasn't previously known because the fossil record for the tropics has not been well established. The fossils were discovered in the grass-covered agricultural region known as Chilga, which was a forest in prehistoric times. Tabor's research looked at soil fossils dating from 26.7 million to 32 million years ago.

Fossil plants and vertebrates in the Chilga Beds date from 26.7 million to 28.1 million years ago, Tabor says. From his examination, Tabor determined there was a lower and older layer of coal and underclay that was a poorly drained, swampy landscape dissected by well-drained Oxisol-forming uplands. A younger upper layer of the Chilga Beds consists of mudstones and sandstones in what was an open landscape dominated by braided, meandering fluvial stream systems.

Tabor is part of a multi-disciplinary team combining independent lines of evidence from various fossil and geochemical sources to reconstruct the prehistoric climate, landscape and ecosystems of Ethiopia, as well as Africa.

The project is funded with a three-year, $322,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The team includes paleoanthropologists, paleobotanists and vertebrate paleontologists from the University of Texas at Austin, Miami University, Southern Methodist University, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Washington University and the University of Michigan.

Tabor presented the research in a topical session at the Oct. 18-21 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. The presentation was titled "Paleoenvironments of Upper Oligocene Strata, NW Ethiopian Plateau." His co-researcher is John W. Kappelman, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Southern Methodist University. The original article was written by Margaret Allen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Southern Methodist University. "Ethiopia's Climate 27 Million Years Ago Had Higher Rainfall, Warmer Soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022182412.htm>.
Southern Methodist University. (2009, October 24). Ethiopia's Climate 27 Million Years Ago Had Higher Rainfall, Warmer Soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022182412.htm
Southern Methodist University. "Ethiopia's Climate 27 Million Years Ago Had Higher Rainfall, Warmer Soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022182412.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

India Clears Cows, Dogs, Dust for Obama Taj Mahal Trip

India Clears Cows, Dogs, Dust for Obama Taj Mahal Trip

AFP (Jan. 23, 2015) Preparations are under way at the Taj Mahal ahead of a visit by Barack and Michelle Obama. Duration: 01:11 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lincoln Collection to Be Auctioned in Dallas

Lincoln Collection to Be Auctioned in Dallas

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Hundreds of pieces of Lincoln memorabilia collected by a Fort Worth, Texas businessman are set to be auctioned this weekend. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phones Used 100 Years Ago on Display

Phones Used 100 Years Ago on Display

AP (Jan. 22, 2015) The phones used to make the world&apos;s first coast-to-coast conference call 100 years ago have been put on display at the California Historical Society&apos;s 1915 World&apos;s Fair exhibit space in San Francisco. (Jan. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Tutankhamun Burial Mask Sloppily Glued Back Together After Cleaning Mishap

King Tutankhamun Burial Mask Sloppily Glued Back Together After Cleaning Mishap

Buzz60 (Jan. 22, 2015) King Tutankhamun Burial Mask is now being called &apos;irreversibly damaged&apos; after its famous beard broke off in a botched cleaning job and then was hastily glued back together. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins