Padul is one of the few wetland sites in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region that exhibits an unusually large temporal span (>100 kyr) and continuous Quaternary sedimentary record. Previous core-based studies from Padul yielded paleoecological datasets (i.e., pollen and organic geochemistry), but with a poor age control that resulted in rather arbitrary climate inferences. Therefore, precise age control and a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to understand long-term regional environmental and climate change and the associated local response of the Padul wetland environment. Here we present a new long sediment record (Padul-15-05) from this wetland in the southern Iberian Peninsula with the aim of improving the age control of the sedimentary sequence and carrying out up-to-date high-resolution multiproxy analyses. In this study the age control is based on 61 AMS radiocarbon dates for the last ca. 50 kyr BP and on the extent of amino acid racemization (AAR) in mollusc shells extending back ∼118 kyr BP. No numerical ages are available for the bottom part of the core but the sediment accumulation rates (SAR) and the cyclostratigraphic analysis of the multiproxy data suggest that the core preserves a continuous record of the last ∼197 kyr (from late MIS 7 to present) with millennial-scale time resolution. Sedimentological (lithology, magnetic susceptibility, XRD, color), geochemical (XRF, TOC, C/N, % carbonate content) and paleontological (pollen, charophytes, gastropods) data show co-varying cyclical paleoenvironmental changes linked to orbital-scale climatic variability. Silicon, magnetic susceptibility (MS) and total organic carbon (TOC) data show periodicities between ∼26.2–19.6 kyr linked to insolation, which is strongly dominated by precession cycles at this latitude. High values of Si and MS data have been related to high siliciclastic/detrital input from Sierra Nevada range during minima in insolation due to enhanced soil weathering/erosion during regional aridity and lower forest cover recorded by the arboreal pollen, which could also be favored by a minor biogenic productivity. In addition, warm climate conditions during maxima in insolation mostly resulted in negative precipitation/evapotranspiration balance and low lake levels, while cold glacial and stadial periods were mainly characterized by positive precipitation/evapotranspiration balance, and therefore, high lake levels. The improved chronology of the Padul sedimentary sequence along with a multiproxy study permitted us to better relate environmental and vegetation changes to climatic events and to demonstrate how both local (i.e., lake level, sedimentation) and regional (i.e., vegetation) environments responded to orbital-scale climate changes.
- Environmental changes
- Lake level
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics