Faculté des sciences

Faunal evidence of a holocene pluvial phase in southern Arabia with remarks on the morphological variability of Helenina anderseni

Gennari, Giordana ; Rosenberg, Thomas ; Spezzaferri, Silvia ; Berger, Jean-Pierre ; Fleitmann, Dominik ; Preusser, Frank ; Al-Shanti, Mahmoud ; Matter, Albert

In: The Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 2011, vol. 41, no. 3, p. 248-259

Although foraminifera have been found living in inland saline lakes isolated from the sea, this phenomenon has rarely been recognized in the fossil record. This study documents the occurrence of benthic foraminifera in Holocene lake sediments located nearly 500 km inland from the Red Sea, in the Al-Mundafan region of southern Saudi Arabia. The lake formed during a regional pluvial period,... Plus

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    Summary
    Although foraminifera have been found living in inland saline lakes isolated from the sea, this phenomenon has rarely been recognized in the fossil record. This study documents the occurrence of benthic foraminifera in Holocene lake sediments located nearly 500 km inland from the Red Sea, in the Al-Mundafan region of southern Saudi Arabia. The lake formed during a regional pluvial period, 10,500–6000 yr BP. The presence of foraminifera and brackish charophytes in the studied section represent an interval when the lake was slightly brackish due to high evaporation. The studied sediments yielded a bispecific benthic foraminiferal fauna comprised of Helenina anderseni and Trichohyalus aguayoi, as well as the brackish charophyte genus Lamprothamnium. The benthic foraminifera are species characteristic of mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and lagoons, which are environments currently widespread along the Red Sea coasts. Because the Al Mundafan area was never connected to the sea during the Quaternary, wading birds must have been the vector that transported the foraminifera to the paleolake.