Detection and characterisation of Eemian Marine Tephra layers within the sapropel s5 sediments of the Aegean and Levantine Seas

Quaternary

Published On 2020/3/13

The Eemian was the last interglacial period (~130 to 115 ka BP) to precede the current interglacial. In Eastern Mediterranean marine sediments, it is marked by a well-developed and organic-rich “sapropel” layer (S5), which is thought to reflect an intensification and northward migration of the African monsoon rain belt over orbital timescales. However, despite the importance of these sediments, very little proxy-independent stratigraphic information is available to enable rigorous correlation of these sediments across the region. This paper presents the first detailed study of visible and non-visible (cryptotephra) layers found within these sediments at three marine coring sites: ODP Site 967B (Levantine Basin), KL51 (South East of Crete) and LC21 (Southern Aegean Sea). Major element analyses of the glass component were used to distinguish four distinct tephra events of Santorini (e.g., Vourvoulos eruption) and possible Anatolian provenance occurring during the formation of S5. Interpolation of core chronologies provides provisional eruption ages for the uppermost tephra (unknown Santorini, 121.8 ± 2.9 ka) and lowermost tephra (Anatolia or Kos/Yali/Nisyros, 126.4 ± 2.9 ka). These newly characterised tephra deposits have also been set into the regional tephrostratigraphy to illustrate the potential to precisely synchronise marine proxy records with their terrestrial counterparts, and also contribute to the establishment of a more detailed volcanic history of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Journal

Quaternary

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2020/3/13

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3

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1

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6

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John Lowe

John Lowe

Royal Holloway, University of London

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Palaeoclimates

Tephrochronology

Dating methods

Sabine Wulf

Sabine Wulf

University of Portsmouth

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Ian Matthews

Ian Matthews

Royal Holloway, University of London

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Senior Lecturer in Quaternary Science

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Article Details
John Lowe

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Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Quaternary in 2022

High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review. Quaternary was able to uphold its high standards for published papers due to the outstanding efforts of our reviewers. Thanks to the efforts of our reviewers in 2022, the median time to first decision was 28.5 days and the median time to publication was 94 days. Regardless of whether the articles they examined were ultimately published, the editors would like to express their appreciation and thank the following reviewers for the time and dedication that they have shown Quaternary:

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Article Details
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Alessio Iannucci

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Quaternary

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Martin Theuerkauf

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Jacky Croke

University College Dublin

Quaternary

Fluvial Response to Environmental Change in Sub-Tropical Australia over the Past 220 Ka

This paper uses a 30 m record of valley alluviation in the Lockyer Creek, a major tributary of the mid-Brisbane River in Southeast Queensland, to document the timing and nature of Quaternary fluvial response. A combination of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating reveals a sequence of major cut and fill episodes. The earliest aggradation phase is represented by a basal gravel unit, dating to ~220 ka (marine isotope sub-stage 7d), and although little evidence supports higher fluvial discharges during MIS 5, a MIS 3 fluvial episode characterised by incision and aggradation dates to ~60 ka. A penultimate phase of incision to a depth of 30 m prior to ~14 ka saw the lower Lockyer occupy its current position within the valley floor. The Lockyer Creek shows evidence of only minor fluvial activity during MIS 2, suggesting a drier LGM climate. The appearance of alternating fine- and coarse-grained units at about 2 ka is notable and may represent higher-energy flood conditions associated with a strengthening of El Niño Southern Oscillation activity as observed in the flood of 2011. The aggradation rate for this Holocene floodplain unit is ~11 times higher than the long-term rate.

Larisa Frolova

Larisa Frolova

Kazan Federal University

Quaternary

Rhynchotalona latens (Sarmaja-Korjonen, Hakojärvi et Korhola 2000) (Crustacea, Anomopoda, Chydoridae) in Lacustrine Sediments of European Russia

Remains of Rhynchotalona latens (Sarmaja-Korjonen, Hakojärvi et Korhola 2000) were found in the bottom sediments of several glaciogenic lakes in northwestern Russia. Subfossil remains of the species were noted both in the bottom sediments of the Late Pleistocene and Mid-Holocene. We discovered a rare species, R. latens, in the bottom sediments of Lake Medvedevskoye (Karelian Isthmus). This species prefers shallow oligo-mesotrophic lakes with organic sediments and has attracted the interest of scientists around the world as it is considered a glacial relict and has recently been found in surface sediments and as a living population in Finland and Russia.

Annegret Larsen

Annegret Larsen

Wageningen Universiteit

Quaternary

Fluvial Response to Environmental Change in Sub-Tropical Australia over the Past 220 Ka

This paper uses a 30 m record of valley alluviation in the Lockyer Creek, a major tributary of the mid-Brisbane River in Southeast Queensland, to document the timing and nature of Quaternary fluvial response. A combination of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating reveals a sequence of major cut and fill episodes. The earliest aggradation phase is represented by a basal gravel unit, dating to ~220 ka (marine isotope sub-stage 7d), and although little evidence supports higher fluvial discharges during MIS 5, a MIS 3 fluvial episode characterised by incision and aggradation dates to ~60 ka. A penultimate phase of incision to a depth of 30 m prior to ~14 ka saw the lower Lockyer occupy its current position within the valley floor. The Lockyer Creek shows evidence of only minor fluvial activity during MIS 2, suggesting a drier LGM climate. The appearance of alternating fine- and coarse-grained units at about 2 ka is notable and may represent higher-energy flood conditions associated with a strengthening of El Niño Southern Oscillation activity as observed in the flood of 2011. The aggradation rate for this Holocene floodplain unit is ~11 times higher than the long-term rate.

Kristofor R. Brye

Kristofor R. Brye

University of Arkansas

Quaternary

Reconstructing the Last 71 ka Paleoclimate in Northeast China by Integrating Typical Loess Sections

Long-term continuous deposits and well-preserved thick loess sections are natural archives for the reconstruction of global climate change. However, the loess sections are often discontinuous owing to soil erosions and accumulations. This study aimed at reconstructing long-term continuous paleoclimatic records by integrating the target sections of two typical loess sequences in northeast (NE) China. One section, the Dajiugang (DJG) section, was investigated and sampled, and the Sanbahuo (SBH) section was used as the target for integrating and reconstructing the paleoclimate. Sedimentary, pedogenesis, and luminescence dating analyses were conducted to analyze the potentials for reconstructing the paleoclimate by integrating two typical loess sections. The results indicated that the paleoclimate records derived from the DJG section can be used to reconstruct the continuous paleoclimate of NE China by integrating them with the SBH section. The paleoclimate information inferred from the DJG section could impute paleoclimate data from 71 to 11.7 ka, which were missing in the SBH section. The paleoclimate of NE China generally consisted of three periods from 71 to 11.7 ka: cold and dry from 29 to 11.7 ka, alternately cold and warm from 57 to 29 ka, and warm and wet to cold and dry from 71 to 57 ka. Integrating the target loess sections can contribute to reconstructing regional long-term continuous paleoclimate records where discontinuous loess sequences occurred.

Timea Kiss

Timea Kiss

Szegedi Tudományegyetem

Quaternary

The Role of Past Climatic Variability in Fluvial Terrace Formation, a Case Study from River Mureş (Maros), Romania

Fluvial terrace formation is a complex process governed by the interplay of climatic and tectonic forcings. From a climatic perspective, an incision is usually related to climatic transitions, while valley aggradation is attributed to glacial periods. We have reconstructed the formation of Late Pleistocene fluvial terraces along the middle, mountainous section of a temperate zone river (Mureş/Maros) in order to identify the roles of different climatic periods and potential vertical displacement in terrace development. Investigations were based on two profiles representing two different terrace levels. The profiles were subjected to sedimentological and detailed geochronological analyses using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). The results indicated that the investigated terraces represent different incision events coinciding with climatic transition periods. However, a joint MIS 3 valley aggradation period can be identified at both of them. Thus, the relatively mild but highly variable climate of the MIS 3 facilitated sediment mobilization from upland catchments. On the other hand, there is no evidence of aggradation under the cold and stable climate of MIS 2. However, the tectonic setting favours incision at the site. Based on our results, we concluded that the timing of the main events was controlled primarily by climatic forcing. The terrace formation model recognised might also be applied at other rivers in the region.

Lourdes López-Merino

Lourdes López-Merino

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Quaternary

Climate Change, Fire and Human Activity Drive Vegetation Change during the Last Eight Millennia in the Xistral Mountains of NW Iberia

An 8500-year record of high-resolution pollen, non-pollen palynomorph, microscopic charcoal and selected geochemical data (Ti, Zr and Pb) is presented from an ombrotrophic mire from the Xistral Mountains, Galicia, North-West Iberia. The results suggest that vegetation changes over the last eight millennia are primarily the result of human disturbance, fire and climate change. Climate and fire were the main factors influencing vegetation development during the early to mid-Holocene, including a short-lived decline in forest cover c. 8.2 cal. ka BP. Changes associated with the 4.2 and 2.8 cal. Ka BP events are less well defined. Human impact on vegetation became more pronounced by the late Holocene with major periods of forest disturbance from c. 3.1 cal. ka BP onwards: during the end of Metal Ages, Roman period and culminating in the permanent decline of deciduous forests in the post-Roman period, as agriculture and metallurgy intensified, leading to the creation of a cultural landscape. Climate change appears to become less influential as human activity dominates during the Late Holocene.

Raman Maini

Raman Maini

Punjabi University Patiala

Quaternary

A framework for crop yield estimation and change detection using image fusion of microwave and optical satellite dataset

Crop yield prediction is one of the crucial components of agriculture that plays an important role in the decision-making process for sustainable agriculture. Remote sensing provides the most efficient and cost-effective solution for the measurement of important agricultural parameters such as soil moisture level, but retrieval of the soil moisture contents from coarse resolution datasets, especially microwave datasets, remains a challenging task. In the present work, a machine learning-based framework is proposed to generate the enhanced resolution soil moisture products, i.e., classified maps and change maps, using an optical-based moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and microwave-based scatterometer satellite (SCATSAT-1) datasets. In the proposed framework, nearest-neighbor-based image fusion (NNIF), artificial neural networks (ANN), and post-classification-based change detection (PCCD) have been integrated to generate thematic and change maps. To confirm the effectiveness of the proposed framework, random forest post-classification-based change detection (RFPCD) has also been implemented, and it is concluded that the proposed framework achieved better results (88.67–91.80%) as compared to the RFPCD (86.80–87.80%) in the computation of change maps with σ°-HH. This study is important in terms of crop yield prediction analysis via the delivery of enhanced-resolution soil moisture products under all weather conditions.

Roel Brienen

Roel Brienen

University of Leeds

Quaternary

An assessment of soil phytolith analysis as a palaeoecological tool for identifying pre-Columbian land use in Amazonian rainforests

Phytolith analysis is a well-established archaeobotanical tool, having provided important insights into pre-Columbian crop cultivation and domestication across Amazonia through the Holocene. Yet, its use as a palaeoecological tool is in its infancy in Amazonia and its effectiveness for reconstructing pre-Columbian land-use beyond archaeological sites (i.e., ‘off-site’) has so far received little critical attention. This paper examines both new and previously published soil phytolith data from SW Amazonia to assess the robustness of this proxy for reconstructing pre-Columbian land-use. We conducted the study via off-site soil pits radiating 7.5 km beyond a geoglyph in Acre state, Brazil, and 50 km beyond a ring-ditch in northern Bolivia, spanning the expected gradients in historical land-use intensity. We found that the spatio-temporal patterns in palm phytolith data across our soil-pit transects support the hypothesis that pre-Columbian peoples enriched their forests with palms over several millennia, although phytoliths are limited in their ability to capture small-scale crop cultivation and deforestation. Despite these drawbacks, we conclude that off-site soil phytolith analysis can provide novel insights into pre-Columbian land use, provided it is effectively integrated with other land-use (e.g., charcoal) and archaeological data.

Iddo Pinkas

Iddo Pinkas

Weizmann Institute of Science

Quaternary

Heat Treatment of Flint at the Late Neanderthal Site Sesselfelsgrotte (Germany)

We examined lithic artifacts from the late Neanderthal site Sesselfelsgrotte (Bavaria, Germany) in order to evaluate the possibility of fire use and intentional flint heat treatment performed by late Neanderthals. We analyzed 1113 flint pieces from the G-layer complex (~60 to 45 kya; Micoquian) and 946 from the lower-layer complex (~115 to 70 kya; Mousterian). Based on macroscopic traits associated with the exposure of flint to heat and fire, we assigned artifacts to one of three groups: burnt, unburnt, and possibly intentionally heated. Our results show that while both complexes demonstrate the clear presence of fire, fire is more common in the younger G-layer complex. Moreover, possibly intentionally heated pieces are significantly more frequent in the G-layer complex, especially among the tools and specifically among side scrapers, suggesting a link between heat treatment and the production of these tools, most probably due to their functional and cultural significance. We therefore suggest that the flint in the G-layer complex of Sesselfelsgrotte underwent intentional heat treatment. The proportions of burnt flint artifacts in both complexes suggest an intensification in fire use at the site over time, while the appearance of possibly intentionally heated artifacts in the G-layer complex suggests the development of this advanced pyrotechnology by Neanderthals sometime between these two timeframes. Our results are supported by sedimentological and faunal data. We view these results as further indication of the advanced cognitive and technological capabilities of Neanderthals, which did not fall short of those of early modern humans.

Aviad Agam

Aviad Agam

Tel Aviv University

Quaternary

Heat Treatment of Flint at the Late Neanderthal Site Sesselfelsgrotte (Germany)

We examined lithic artifacts from the late Neanderthal site Sesselfelsgrotte (Bavaria, Germany) in order to evaluate the possibility of fire use and intentional flint heat treatment performed by late Neanderthals. We analyzed 1113 flint pieces from the G-layer complex (~60 to 45 kya; Micoquian) and 946 from the lower-layer complex (~115 to 70 kya; Mousterian). Based on macroscopic traits associated with the exposure of flint to heat and fire, we assigned artifacts to one of three groups: burnt, unburnt, and possibly intentionally heated. Our results show that while both complexes demonstrate the clear presence of fire, fire is more common in the younger G-layer complex. Moreover, possibly intentionally heated pieces are significantly more frequent in the G-layer complex, especially among the tools and specifically among side scrapers, suggesting a link between heat treatment and the production of these tools, most probably due to their functional and cultural significance. We therefore suggest that the flint in the G-layer complex of Sesselfelsgrotte underwent intentional heat treatment. The proportions of burnt flint artifacts in both complexes suggest an intensification in fire use at the site over time, while the appearance of possibly intentionally heated artifacts in the G-layer complex suggests the development of this advanced pyrotechnology by Neanderthals sometime between these two timeframes. Our results are supported by sedimentological and faunal data. We view these results as further indication of the advanced cognitive and technological capabilities of Neanderthals, which did not fall short of those of early modern humans.

Richard C. Chiverrell

Richard C. Chiverrell

University of Liverpool

Quaternary

Early to Mid-Holocene Tree Immigration and Spread in the Isle of Man: The Roles of Climate and Other Factors

The Isle of Man is a large island which lies in the middle of the northern Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland and, because of its insularity and size, has an impoverished flora compared with the two main islands. This has been the case throughout the postglacial and warrants the island’s description as a separate phytogeographic province. We have considered Holocene tree pollen data from seventeen sites on the island which together preserve a vegetation history that spans the six thousand years of the early and mid-postglacial from the end of the Lateglacial at 11,700 cal. BP to the mid-Holocene Ulmus decline at ca. 5800 cal. BP. Radiocarbon dating of the rational limits of the pollen curves for the main tree taxa has allowed an appraisal of the timing of each one’s expansion to become a significant component of the island’s woodland, and comparison with the dates of their expansion on the adjacent regions of Britain and Ireland. The radiocarbon dates show that, although some variability exists probably due to local factors, there is considerable concordance between the timings of major pollen zone boundaries in Britain and Ireland around the northern Irish Sea. On the Isle of Man the expansions of both Juniperus and Betula were delayed by several centuries compared to the British/Irish data, however the timing of the expansions of Corylus, Ulmus, Quercus, Pinus and Alnus on the Isle of Man all appear closely comparable to the ages for these pollen stratigraphic events in north Wales, northwest England, southwest Scotland and eastern Ireland, as are those for the Ulmus decline. It is likely that local pedological and edaphic factors on …

Anoop Singh

Anoop Singh

University of Delhi

Quaternary

Vegetation Dynamics and Hydro-Climatic Changes during the Middle Holocene from the Central Himalaya, India

Understanding the spatiotemporal monsoonal variability during the Holocene helps in understanding the rise and fall of many civilizations. In this study, a 2.65 m high palaeo lake sedimentary profile from the Kumaun Lesser Himalaya, Uttarakhand State, India was pollen analysed to reconstruct the variability in the monsoonal precipitation during the Middle Holocene. The study revealed that between ~7522 and 7216 cal yr BP, conifers dominated mixed broad-leaved forests occurred around the landscape of the study area, indicating a less cold and dry climate with decreased monsoon precipitation. Broad-leaved taxa during this phase show increased values considerably, indicating amelioration in climatic condition, which could be, in global perspective, broadly falling within the time-interval of the Holocene Climate Optimum (HCO; 7000–4000 BP). Between ~7216 and 6526 cal yr BP, dense conifers-dominated mixed broad-leaved forests transformed the conifers-dominated broad-leaved forests around the study area under a cold and drier climate with further reduction in monsoon precipitation. Subsequently, between ~6526 and 5987 cal yr BP, conifers-dominated broad-leaved forests continued to grow, but with lesser frequencies, around the study area under a comparatively less cold and dry climate with reduced monsoon precipitation. Finally, between ~5987 and 5817 cal yr BP, the frequencies of conifers-dominated broad-leaved forests further decreased around the landscape of the study area under a comparatively lesser cold and dry climate, probably indicating decreased monsoonal precipitation. Hence, the present study mainly …

Saverio Bartolini Lucenti

Saverio Bartolini Lucenti

Università degli Studi di Firenze

Quaternary

The Fox from Bajiazui (Qingyang, Central China) and an Update on Early Pleistocene Foxes from China

(1) Background: despite the fact that nowadays the genus Vulpes Frisch, 1775, is the most diverse among extant Canidae, its fossil record is utterly scarce, especially in the Asian Pliocene. The sparse nature of this record further complicates the reconstruction of the evolutionary scenario to fit these taxa with extant species. The situation seems to change slightly in the Early Pleistocene when two species are recorded: Vulpes alopecoides (Del Campana, 1913) in Europe and Vulpes chikushanensis, Young, 1930, in Asian localities. Unlike the former, which has an extensive record, the remains of the Chinese V. chikushanensis are sporadic and the validity of the taxon has also been questioned. (2) Methods: the study of the specimens from the Early Pleistocene site of Bajiazui (1.8–1.2 Ma, Qingyang, Gansu) in comparison to an extensive sample of Vulpes spp. The Pliocene–Early Pleistocene is relevant for the delimitation of fossil foxes variability; (3) Results: morphologically and morphometrically, the specimens of Bajiazui fit with the specimens of V. chikushanensis from other Chinese localities of the Early Pleistocene, e.g., Longdan (Gansu) and Huiyu (Fangshang), highlighting some difference with the latest Early Pleistocene forms of Jigushan fox; (4) Conclusions: the revision of the Asian fossil record of Vulpes is crucial in our attempt to understand and reconstruct the evolution of carnivoran guild during the late Early Pleistocene (1.8–0.8 Ma). The fox remains from Bajiazui, although fragmentary, add a valuable piece to our knowledge of V. chikushanensis, a species possibly strongly related to the extant Vulpes corsac (Linnaeus, 1768).

2023/11/20

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