Enigma of the desert.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Desert varnish is a thin coating of manganese, iron, clays and trace elements on rock surfaces, best developed on the oldest and most stable of those surfaces. A surface microbial community performs the crucial task of concentrating the manganese in the process of varnish formation which may take up to 10 000 years. A technique is now being developed to accurately date the ages of samples of varnish (by examining the ratio of leachable to non-leachable elements), opening the way for studies on past atmospheric conditions, desert landforms and anthropology. - N.Pinder

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-5
Number of pages3
JournalEnvironment Southwest
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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