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Title: From the Allerød to the mid-Holocene: Palynological evidence from the south basin of the Caspian Sea
Authors: Tudryn, A
Chalié, F
López-Merino, L
Gasse, F
Keywords: Caspian Sea;Pollen;Dinocysts;Vegetation;Sea level fluctuations;Palaeohydrography;Younger Dryas;Holocene
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 78, 77 - 97, 2013
Abstract: Pollen and dinoflagellate cysts have been analysed in a core from the south basin of the Caspian Sea, providing a picture of respectively past vegetation and water salinity for the Late Pleistocene to middle Holocene. A relatively sharp lithological change at 0.86 m depth reflects a shift from detrital silts to carbonates-rich fine silts. From this depth upwards, a Holocene chronology is built based on ten radiocarbon dates on ostracod shells and bulk carbonates. From the vegetation point of view, the Late Pleistocene deserts and steppes were partially replaced in the most sheltered areas by an open woodland with Pinus, Juniperus-Hippophae-Elaeagnus and even Alnus-Quercus-Pterocarya and Fraxinus, related to the Allerød palynozone. This was interrupted by the Younger Dryas palynozone when Artemisia reaches a maximum in a first instance followed by a very dry phase with only a slight return of Pinus and Quercus and the rare presence of Ulmus-Zelkova. From 11.5 to 8.4 cal. ka BP, an open landscape dominated by shrubs such as Ephedra and progressively increasing Quercus appeared. The final spread of diverse evergreen and deciduous trees is delayed and occurs after 8.4 cal. ka BP. It is suggested that this delay is caused by an arid climate in the Early Holocene linked to high insolation and perhaps to a lake effect. The dinocyst assemblages fluctuate between slightly brackish (Pyxidinopsis psilata and Spiniferites cruciformis, 7 psu and lower) and more brackish (Impagidinium caspienense, ∼13 psu). In the Lateglacial (Khvalynian highstand), the assemblages remained dominated by relative low salinity taxa. A late and brief increase of salinity occurred prior to 11.2 cal. ka BP associated with the Mangyshlak lowstand. It is suggested that it was caused by a brief drop in meltwater flow from both the north and the southeast (Uzboy) and a likely evaporation increase. This lowstand occurs quasi at the same time as the end of a longer lowstand in the Black Sea. The freshest waters are then inferred as having occurred between 8.4 and ≤4.4 cal. ka BP, linked to a connection with the Amu Darya and the melting glaciers on the Pamir Mountains. The Caspian Sea is a sensitive environment, easily perturbed by global climatic changes, such as the Allerød and Holocene warming, and the Lateglacial and Younger Dryas cooling, as well as by regional changes in its hydrography, such as shifts in the Eurasian meltwater and the Volga and Amu Darya inflows.
Description: This article has been made available through the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund. Copyright @ The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
ISSN: 0277-3791
Appears in Collections:Environment
Brunel OA Publishing Fund
Institute for the Environment

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