Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 267–281

Timing of the late glacial and Younger Dryas cold reversal in southern Chile varved sediments

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10933-007-9118-x

Cite this article as:
Boës, X. & Fagel, N. J Paleolimnol (2008) 39: 267. doi:10.1007/s10933-007-9118-x


The timing of the last deglaciation in southern Chile is re-evaluated from a calendar varve chronology (Lago Puyehue, 40° S). The climate shifts are analysed by continuous annual varve-thickness measurements through the ∼17,100 cal. year to 10,800 cal. year BP time window (∼3.5 m sediment core). The varve years are determined by the alternation of light (phytoplankton-rich) and dark (terrigenous and organic-rich) layers forming graded annual couplets (∼0.2 to 0.8 mm/year). The varve chronology is constructed by conventional varve-counting methods on thin sections after correction for instantaneous volcanic and/or seismic events detected in the thin sections. The calibrated varve-age model derived from the manual varve counting is constrained by high-resolution grey-scale (GS) semi-automatic counts of the annual light phytoplankton-rich layers (∼120 μm to 300 μm thick). Due to physical sediment properties the GS constitutes a proxy record for the phytoplankton/terrigenous varve-thickness variations through the sediment record. The varve couplets are thicker/thinner during humid/dry phases and darker/lighter (negative/positive annual grey-scale index) during cold/warm phases. Our results show that at 40° S the last deglaciation took place in two phases between ∼17,100  cal. year and ∼15,500 cal. year BP. We note a climate instability between ∼15,500 cal. year and 13,300 cal. year BP and a significant dry phase between ∼15,000 and 14,500 cal. year BP. We evidence a cold event in two phases between ∼13,300 and 12,200 cal. year BP interrupted by a dry event between ∼12,800 and 12,600 cal. year BP. The onset of a significant warmer period is observed after ∼11,500 cal. year BP. Our results provide new evidence of a Younger Dryas cool reversal in southern Chile, i.e., the Huelmo/Mascardi event Hajdas et al. (2003) associated with an abrupt dry pulse at ∼12,800–12,600 cal. year BP. The high-resolution grey-scale measurements performed on the biogenic varves from Lago Puyehue provide a reliable calibrated chronology of the regional environmental and climate shifts during the last deglaciation.


ChileLake DistrictVarve chronologyGrey scaleTermination IYounger Dryas

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clays and Paleoclimate Research UnitUniversity of LiègeLiegeBelgium