568 pages, B/w photos, illus, figs, maps
The main theme of this book is the reconstruction of past arid environments, with the help of palynology. Palynology was for a long time rarely practised in arid lands due to both technical and conceptual difficulties, mainly centered around poverty in pollen grains and different approaches necessary for treating the spectra, as compared with forested regions. However, recent developments in extraction techniques, along with new concepts applied for analysis of data, show the great potential lying in reconstructing past arid environments, along with a variety of ensuing ramifications. The book provides an update of the state of the art in this branch of science. Firstly, it deals with natural agents relevant to palynology in arid lands, from pollen release by parent plants through transportation, deposition and preservation in various types of rocks. Then it describes sampling strategies, various treatments for extracting microfossils from host rocks, identifying, counting and presenting the results. Concepts and ways for interpretations of results are discussed. There are several case studies, to demonstrate prospects and possibilities in reconstructing late Cenozoic vegetation, climate, transport, environments of deposition, structure, stratigraphy, regional paleogeography and human settlement of past arid environments. A discussion of pre-late Cenozoic arid lands palynology is also included, with examples from the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic deserts. Each topic is accompanied by photographs and line-drawings. There is an extensive bibliography and subject and author indexes. The book is intended for students and scientists, mainly in palynology, Quaternary sciences, geology, climatology, environmental sciences, paleoclimatology, evolution, biology, geomorphology of arid lands, botany, anthropology and archaeology.
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