Changes in fluvial systems during the Quaternary

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Despite their potential importance, southern Africa’s fluvial systems have yet to be fully exploited as archives of Quaternary palaeoenvironmental changes. This chapter outlines the regional environmental setting, and reviews the nature and drivers of southern African fluvial system responses, focusing mainly on examples where a secure geochronology exists. A key message is the need for recognition of diversity in the nature and drivers of Quaternary fluvial system change. Across the subcontinent, physiographic, tectonic, geological, climatic, vegetative – and more recently, anthropogenic – factors have combined in various ways to produce a variety of fluvial system responses that may incorporate aspects of channel lateral migration, avulsion, aggradation and/or incision. Depending on factors such as catchment scale and geomorphic setting, different fluvial systems exhibit differing sensitivities to natural and anthropogenic drivers, in turn influencing the production and preservation of fluvial sedimentary archives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuaternary Environmental Change in Southern Africa
Subtitle of host publicationPhysical and Human Dimensions
EditorsJasper Knight, Stefan W. Grab
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781107295483
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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