Changes in vegetation from coastal mangroves to montane forest are used to record the emergence of Timor from the sea and to track the uplift of the island from sea level to over 2000 m above sea level.
The island started to emerge soon after 4.5 million years ago, but the uplift dramatically accelerated after 3.1 million years ago to rates of 2-5 mm per year.
The emergence of Timor is earlier than Indonesia to the west, but follows the same pattern. The uplift of Timor is closely associated with the constriction of the Indonesian through flow. This study helps constrain both the nature of tectonic activity in this region and also reinforces understanding of the causes of climate change in the last three million years, including the timing of development of a modern El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system.
Paper: N. Nguyen et al. (J. Shulmeister, corresponding)doi: 10.1130/G33420.1