Marine influence in Amazonia: Evidence from the geological record

Jussi Hovikoski, Frank P. Wesselingh, Matti Räsänen, M. Gingras, Hubert B. Vonhof

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/rapport/konferenceproceedingsBogkapitelForskningpeer review

22 Citationer (Scopus)


Marine influence in Amazonia during the Miocene is a controversial issue, one about which nearly opposite theories (continental vs marine) have been proposed. Increasing multidisciplinary palaeoenvironmental data sets from various Miocene stratigraphic levels and parts of Amazonia have revealed depositional complexities triggered by repeated, high-frequency base-level changes and a very low depositional gradient. As a result, Early-Middle Miocene strata (Pebas phase) are organized into recurring 3-10 m-thick transgressive-regressive bay-margin successions. An array of evidence indicates some sort of marine influence in these deposits. This evidence includes mangrove pollen, foraminifers, rare brackish-water mollusc species, barnacles, common brackish-water trace fossil assemblages and tidal sediments. The ongoing debate now focuses on the degree of saltwater influence in the Pebas phase strata. The Late Miocene (Acre phase) stratigraphic record comprises mainly channelized deposits, and fossil faunas are dominated by terrestrial and freshwater vertebrates. The evidence for marginal marine influence in these strata is mainly confined to inclined heterolithic stratification (IHS)-bearing channels and includes tidal sediments, restricted brackish-water ichnofossil assemblages, and locally teeth of euryhaline sharks and mangrove pollen (Nauta and Madre de Dios Formations). In particular, the tidal signature in these deposits is well developed, pointing to local development of deltaic/estuarine settings. There are also suggestions of marine influence on other stratigraphic intervals throughout Amazonia, particularly in Pliocene and Quaternary strata. The allegedly marine conditions have been proposed based on purported global sea-level highstands, the low altitude of the Amazon region and supposed coastal geomorphological features such as deltas. We conclude that these suggestions are misconceptions and that geological data to support such marine settings during the Late Neogene are lacking.

TitelAmazonia: landscape and species evolution
UndertitelA look into the past
RedaktørerC. Hoorn, F.P. Wesselingh
Antal sider19
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-1-444-30640-8
ISBN (Trykt)978-1-405-18113-6
StatusUdgivet - 1 jul. 2010
Udgivet eksterntJa


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