Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 349–371 | Cite as

Last deglaciation and Holocene environmental change at high altitude in the Pyrenees: the geochemical and paleomagnetic record from Marboré Lake (N Spain)

  • B. Oliva-UrciaEmail author
  • A. Moreno
  • M. Leunda
  • B. Valero-Garcés
  • P. González-Sampériz
  • G. Gil-Romera
  • M. P. Mata
  • HORDA Group
Original paper


Sedimentological, geochemical and magnetic data in a ~ 7-m sequence from Marboré Lake (2612 m asl, central Pyrenees) provide information about environmental variability since the last glacier retreat (14.6 cal ka BP) in high-altitude Pyrenean environments. The sediment sequence is composed of millimeter- to centimeter-thick rhythmites made of finer greyish laminae and coarser-grain, carbonate-bearing laminae arranged in varied patterns throughout the sequence. Finer laminae are interpreted as deposition during periods of predominantly ice-covered conditions, whereas coarser, carbonate-bearing sediments reflect periods of higher runoff. The age model, based on 13 14C dates and a reservoir effect assessed with 210Pb and 137Cs, is coherent with known synchronous vegetation changes across the Pyrenees. Warmer intervals such as GI-1 (14.6–12.8 cal ka BP, Bølling/Allerød period), 10.4–8.2 cal ka BP in the Early Holocene, 7.5–5.2 cal ka BP in the Mid Holocene and the Medieval Climate Anomaly (AD 900–1300), are characterized by peaks in productivity and higher carbonate preservation. Deposition during colder periods such as GS-1 (12.8–11.7 cal ka BP), the Neoglacial (ca. 5.2–3.5 cal ka BP) and the Little Ice Age (last 400 years) show an increase in finer laminae. The presence of magnetite throughout the whole section suggests that Marboré Lake maintained predominantly oxic conditions since its formation. Changes in magnetic properties and the increase in magnetite from 3.5 cal ka BP to present, however, indicate a more oxic environment at the lake bottom during the last few millennia. The occurrence of Pb concentration peaks in sediments of Roman and modern age demonstrates the global distribution of heavy metal deposition, even into high-mountain lakes.


Lake record Mountain environments Magnetic properties Geochemistry Sedimentology 



Funding for this research was provided by the Spanish National Parks Agency through the projects HORDA (Ref 83/2009), CULPA (Ref 998/2013), CLAM (Ref 623/2012), and by the Spanish Inter-Ministry Commission of Science and Technology through the DINAMO 2 (Ref CGL2012-33063) and DINAMO 3 (Ref CGL2015-69160-R) projects and by the European Commission (EFA056/15 REPLIM). María Leunda acknowledges FPI Grant BES-2013-063753. We are indebted to the HORDA group for the field expedition in 2011 and to Miguel Sevilla for the design of Fig. 1. The director and staff of the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (PNOMP) are also acknowledged for their help with the sampling campaigns. Two anonymous reviewers and the editor in Chief M Brenner are acknowledged for their comments and suggestions. HORDA GROUP: A. Adsuar, J. Aranbarri, F. Barreiro, M. Bartolomé, B. Bueno, E. García-Prieto, B. García, J. C. Larrasoaña, J. M. Parés, A. Pérez, M. Rico, A. Salabarnada, Á. Salazar, M. Sevilla-Callejo, P. Tarrats.

Supplementary material

10933_2017_13_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1799 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geología y GeoquímicaUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Procesos Geoambientales y Cambio GlobalInstituto Pirenaico de Ecología–CSICZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Earth SciencesAberystwyth UniversityAberyswythUK
  4. 4.Departamento de Investigación en Recursos GeológicosInstituto Geológico y Minero de EspañaMadridSpain

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