Coupled stalagmite – Alluvial fan response to the 8.2 ka event and early Holocene palaeoclimate change in Greece

Emily Peckover, Julian Andrews, Mike Leeder, Peter Rowe, Alina Marca, Diana Sahy, Steve Noble, Robert Gawthorpe

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We explore the expression of early Holocene climatic change in the terrestrial Mediterranean of southern Greece. A regional palaeoclimate record from stable isotope and trace element geochemical proxies in an early Holocene (~12.4 ka to 6.7 ka) stalagmite is compared to the timing of palaeosol (entisol) development on an early Holocene alluvial fan located <100 km from the stalagmite site. Radiocarbon dated entisol development records fan abandonment surfaces, which can be coupled to the stalagmite climate signal. Variations in δ13C best record the main elements of palaeoclimatic change, more negative values indicating soil carbon input to karst groundwater under wetter conditions. The wettest conditions begin around 10.3 ka, coincident with the start of sapropel 1 deposition in the eastern Mediterranean. The widely documented northern hemisphere ‘8.2 ka event’ of cooler and drier conditions has a muted δ18O climatic signal in common with other stalagmite climate records from the wider Mediterranean. However, less negative δ13C values do record a period of episodic dryness between ~8.8 and ending at 8.2 ka. Wetter conditions re-established after 8.1 ka to the end of the record. The oldest alluvial fan entisols were developing by ~9.5 ka, and a prominent rubified entisol developed ~8.3 to 8.4 ka, indicating pedogenesis within dating error of the 8.2 ka event. The speleothem record of episodic dryness between ~8.8 and 8.2 ka, combined with other regional proxies, is consistent with the notion that precipitation patterns in Greece may have changed from predominantly winter frontal to summer convective during this period. Palaeosol formation on the alluvial fan may have been an allocyclic response to this change. It is plausible that fan-channel incision, driven by temporary development of a ‘flashier’ summer rainfall regime, isolated large areas of the fan surface allowing onset of prolonged pedogenesis there.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109252
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Early online date28 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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