Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 113–128 | Cite as

Western Mediterranean climate and environment since Marine Isotope Stage 3: a 50,000-year record from Lake Banyoles, Spain

  • Jack H. LaceyEmail author
  • Melanie J. Leng
  • Nicole Höbig
  • Jane M. Reed
  • Blas Valero-Garcés
  • Klaus Reicherter
Original paper


We present new stable isotope (δ18Ocalcite and δ13Ccalcite) and diatom data from a 67-m sediment core (BAN II) from Lake Banyoles, northeastern Spain. We reassessed the chronology of the sequence by correlating stable isotope data with a shorter U-series-dated record from the lake, confirming a sedimentological offset between the two cores and demonstrating that BAN II spans Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 3–1. Through comparison with previous records, the multi-proxy data are used to improve understanding of palaeolimnological dynamics and, by inference, western Mediterranean climate and environmental change during the past ca. 50,000 years. Three main zones, defined by isotope and diatom data, correspond to the MIS. The basal zone (MIS 3) is characterised by fluctuating δ18Ocalcite and benthic diatom abundance, indicating a high degree of environmental and climate variability, concomitant with large lake-level changes. During the full glacial (MIS 2), relatively constant δ18Ocalcite and a poorly preserved planktonic-dominated diatom assemblage suggest stability, and intermittently, unusually high lake level. In MIS 1, δ18Ocalcite and δ13Ccalcite initially transition to lower values, recording a pattern of Late Glacial to Holocene change that is similar to other Mediterranean records. This study suggests that Lake Banyoles responds limnologically to changes in the North Atlantic ocean–atmosphere system and provides an important dataset from the Iberian Peninsula, a region in need of longer-term records that can be used to correlate between marine and terrestrial archives, and between the western and eastern Mediterranean.


Karstic lakes Palaeoclimate Isotopes Diatoms Iberian Peninsula Mediterranean 



This paper contributes to the CRC 806 (University of Cologne)—Our Way to Europe. The paper forms part of the PhD research of JHL funded by the British Geological Survey University Funding Initiative (BUFI) and also the PhD of NH at RWTH Aachen University. Thanks go to Andrea Snelling (NIGL) for assistance with the isotope work and Cheryl Haidon (University of Leicester) for providing mineralogy data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NERC Isotope Geosciences FacilitiesBritish Geological SurveyKeyworth, NottinghamUK
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, School of GeographyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  3. 3.Institute of Neotectonics and Natural HazardsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Geography, Environment and Earth SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK
  5. 5.Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, CSICSaragossaSpain

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