A multi-proxy approach to understanding complex responses of salt-lake catchments to climate variability and human pressure

A Late Quaternary case study from south-eastern, Spain

Samantha Elsie Jones, Francesc Burjachs (Collaborator), Carlos Ferrer (Collaborator), Lothar Schulte (Collaborator), Santiago Giralt (Collaborator), Javier Fernandez Lopez de Pablo (Collaborator)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article focuses on a former salt lake in the upper Vinalopó Valley in south-eastern Spain. The study spans the Late Pleistocene through to the Late Holocene, although with particular focus on the period between 11 ka cal BP and 3000 ka cal BP (which spans the Mesolithic and part of the Bronze Age). High resolution multi-proxy analysis (including pollen, non pollen palynomorphs, grain size, X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction) was undertaken on the lake sediments. The results show strong sensitivity to both long term and small changes in the evaporation/precipitation ratio, affecting the surrounding vegetation composition, lake-biota and sediment geochemistry.

To summarise the key findings the main general trends identified include: 1) Hyper-saline conditions and low lake levels at the end of the Late Glacial 2) Increasing wetness and temperatures which witnessed an expansion of mesophilic woodland taxa, lake infilling and the establishment of a more perennial lake system at the onset of the Holocene 3) An increase in solar insolation after 9 ka cal BP which saw the re-establishment of pine forests 4) A continued trend towards increasing dryness (climatic optimum) at 7 ka cal BP but with continued freshwater input 5) An increase in sclerophyllous open woody vegetation (anthropogenic?), and increasing wetness (climatic?) is represented in the lake record between 5.9 and 3 ka cal BP 6) The Holocene was also punctuated by several aridity pulses, the most prominent corresponding to the 8.2 ka cal BP event. These events, despite a paucity of well dated archaeological sites in the surrounding area, likely altered the carrying capacity of this area both regionally and locally, particularly during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, in terms of fresh water supply for human/animal consumption, wild plant food reserves and suitable land for crop growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-223
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume184
Early online date13 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018

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saline lake
Spain
climate
catchment
case studies
salts
lakes
Mesolithic
event
lake
Holocene
trend
water management
agricultural product
animal
food
freshwater input
Bronze Age
vegetation
Hypsithermal

Keywords

  • Lateglacial
  • Holocene
  • Western Europe
  • Vegetation dynamics
  • Geochemistry
  • Salt lake
  • climate dynamics
  • Aridity events
  • human carrying capacity
  • Western Mediterranean

Cite this

A multi-proxy approach to understanding complex responses of salt-lake catchments to climate variability and human pressure : A Late Quaternary case study from south-eastern, Spain. / Jones, Samantha Elsie; Burjachs, Francesc (Collaborator); Ferrer, Carlos (Collaborator); Schulte, Lothar (Collaborator); Giralt, Santiago (Collaborator); Fernandez Lopez de Pablo, Javier (Collaborator).

In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 184, 15.03.2018, p. 201-223.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "This article focuses on a former salt lake in the upper Vinalop{\'o} Valley in south-eastern Spain. The study spans the Late Pleistocene through to the Late Holocene, although with particular focus on the period between 11 ka cal BP and 3000 ka cal BP (which spans the Mesolithic and part of the Bronze Age). High resolution multi-proxy analysis (including pollen, non pollen palynomorphs, grain size, X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction) was undertaken on the lake sediments. The results show strong sensitivity to both long term and small changes in the evaporation/precipitation ratio, affecting the surrounding vegetation composition, lake-biota and sediment geochemistry.To summarise the key findings the main general trends identified include: 1) Hyper-saline conditions and low lake levels at the end of the Late Glacial 2) Increasing wetness and temperatures which witnessed an expansion of mesophilic woodland taxa, lake infilling and the establishment of a more perennial lake system at the onset of the Holocene 3) An increase in solar insolation after 9 ka cal BP which saw the re-establishment of pine forests 4) A continued trend towards increasing dryness (climatic optimum) at 7 ka cal BP but with continued freshwater input 5) An increase in sclerophyllous open woody vegetation (anthropogenic?), and increasing wetness (climatic?) is represented in the lake record between 5.9 and 3 ka cal BP 6) The Holocene was also punctuated by several aridity pulses, the most prominent corresponding to the 8.2 ka cal BP event. These events, despite a paucity of well dated archaeological sites in the surrounding area, likely altered the carrying capacity of this area both regionally and locally, particularly during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, in terms of fresh water supply for human/animal consumption, wild plant food reserves and suitable land for crop growth.",
keywords = "Lateglacial , Holocene , Western Europe , Vegetation dynamics, Geochemistry , Salt lake, climate dynamics , Aridity events, human carrying capacity, Western Mediterranean",
author = "Jones, {Samantha Elsie} and Francesc Burjachs and Carlos Ferrer and Lothar Schulte and Santiago Giralt and {Fernandez Lopez de Pablo}, Javier",
note = "We would like to thank the European Union for funding this project (PRETM, Grant number 628589), the spanish MINECO funding agency (Grant numbers RyC-2011-09363 and IEDI-2017-00889) who have supported the co-author JFL, the Spanish government and land owners for allowing the fieldwork, the geologist who extracted the core samples (Mateo Chirlaque), the IPHES administration staff, Dr Chris Hunt for his advice, the CHRONO department in Belfast for carrying out the 14C analysis, Isabel Exp{\'o}sito for the pollen preps, Jaime Frigola for his assistance and training with the XRF machine; and Montserrat Guart-Fern{\'a}ndez for the grain size analysis and to both reviewers whose comments and advice have greatly improved this manuscript.",
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A2 - Giralt, Santiago

A2 - Fernandez Lopez de Pablo, Javier

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N2 - This article focuses on a former salt lake in the upper Vinalopó Valley in south-eastern Spain. The study spans the Late Pleistocene through to the Late Holocene, although with particular focus on the period between 11 ka cal BP and 3000 ka cal BP (which spans the Mesolithic and part of the Bronze Age). High resolution multi-proxy analysis (including pollen, non pollen palynomorphs, grain size, X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction) was undertaken on the lake sediments. The results show strong sensitivity to both long term and small changes in the evaporation/precipitation ratio, affecting the surrounding vegetation composition, lake-biota and sediment geochemistry.To summarise the key findings the main general trends identified include: 1) Hyper-saline conditions and low lake levels at the end of the Late Glacial 2) Increasing wetness and temperatures which witnessed an expansion of mesophilic woodland taxa, lake infilling and the establishment of a more perennial lake system at the onset of the Holocene 3) An increase in solar insolation after 9 ka cal BP which saw the re-establishment of pine forests 4) A continued trend towards increasing dryness (climatic optimum) at 7 ka cal BP but with continued freshwater input 5) An increase in sclerophyllous open woody vegetation (anthropogenic?), and increasing wetness (climatic?) is represented in the lake record between 5.9 and 3 ka cal BP 6) The Holocene was also punctuated by several aridity pulses, the most prominent corresponding to the 8.2 ka cal BP event. These events, despite a paucity of well dated archaeological sites in the surrounding area, likely altered the carrying capacity of this area both regionally and locally, particularly during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, in terms of fresh water supply for human/animal consumption, wild plant food reserves and suitable land for crop growth.

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KW - Lateglacial

KW - Holocene

KW - Western Europe

KW - Vegetation dynamics

KW - Geochemistry

KW - Salt lake

KW - climate dynamics

KW - Aridity events

KW - human carrying capacity

KW - Western Mediterranean

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JF - Quaternary Science Reviews

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