, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 321-339

Late Pleistocene and Holocene history of Lake Terrasovoje, Amery Oasis, East Antarctica, and its climatic and environmental implications

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Abstract

A 5.52 m long sediment sequence was recovered from Lake Terrasovoje, Amery Oasis, East Antarctica, in order to reconstruct the regional environmental history. The basal sediments, which are dominated by glacial and glaciofluvial clastic sediments, attest to a Late Pleistocene deglaciation of the lake basin. These sediments are overlain by 2.70 m of laminated algal and microbial mats and a few interspersed moss layers. Radiocarbon dating, conducted on bulk organic carbon of 12 samples throughout the organic sequence, provides a reliable chronology since the onset of biogenic accumulation at c. 12,400 cal. year BP. Successful diatom colonization, however, was probably hampered by extensive ice and snow cover on the lake and restricted input of nutrients until 10,200 cal. year BP. A subsequent increase of nutrient supply culminated between 8600 and 8200 cal. year BP and is related to warm summer temperatures and reduced albedo in the catchment. Warm conditions lasted until 6700 cal. year BP, supporting the establishment of a diatom community. Colder temperatures from 6700 cal. year BP culminated in several periods between 6200 and 3700 cal. year BP, when high amounts of sulphur and low abundances of diatoms were deposited due to a perennial ice and snow cover on the lake. During the late Holocene, relatively warm conditions between 3200 and 2300 cal. year BP and between 1500 to 1000 cal. year BP, respectively, indicated by high accumulation of organic matter and reducing bottom water conditions, were interrupted and followed by colder periods.