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Introduction

Authors
Publisher
Elsevier Science & Technology
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s1571-0866(07)10001-4
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Publisher Summary The island of Tierra del Fuego and the Fuegian Archipelago are considered as part of the Patagonian region. Patagonia is an ancient, buoyant fragment of the Gondwana supercontinent, which merged with the South American shield core sometime in the Paleozoic. Present-day Patagonia is mostly located within the South American plate but the southernmost part of the Patagonian Andes and the Fuegian Archipelago is included in the Scotia plate, south of the major Magallanes–Fagnano fault zone. Patagonia is the continental wedge that protrudes into the southern oceans. Its present climate reflects the oceanic climate influence, and most likely this has been the case since the Late Miocene. Thus, it is assumed that the paleoclimate record of Patagonia is closely depicting the climate of Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere during coeval periods. Most probably, the Late Cenozoic climate of the world has been determined by the thermohaline marine circulation, closely related to the behavior of the Antarctic oceanic masses and the marine currents originating there. Therefore, paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental studies in Patagonia shall be decisive to expose the world paleoclimate framework, or at least they should allow global correlation and interpretation of foremost, key events.

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