Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 423–435 | Cite as

Sedimentological evidence for environmental changes since 34,000 years BP from Lago di Mezzano, central Italy

  • Antje Ramrath
  • Norbert R. Nowaczyk
  • Jörg F.w. Negendank


Sediment cores recovered from Lago di Mezzano, central Italy, were petrographically and geochemically (dry densitity, total organic carbon) investigated. A floating chronology was established with sedimentation rates derived from varve thickness measurements, and this chronology was both supported and extrapolated with calibrated AMS-14C-datings. The profile has a length of 29.7 m and comprises a total of 34,000 years.

Late Pleistocene sediments consist of minerogenic-organic mud with few benthic diatoms and an organic carbon content of 2%, thus suggesting a high allochthonous input. The onset of the Late Glacial at 14,580 cal BP is documented by a lithologic change to more organic-dominated sedimentation. The Younger Dryas cold event is recorded between 12,650 and 11,400 cal BP and exhibits higher dry densities and minerogenic input. These dates agree with records from other lacustrine archives in Europe and the Greenland ice cores.

The early Holocene comprises a laminated organic diatom gyttja deposited at a time of climatic amelioration and increased primary productivity. The establishment of an anoxic hypolimnion enhanced the varve and organic matter preservation. Since 3700 varve years BP the sedimentation pattern has been strongly influenced by human impact, as documented by the increase in minerogenic sediments and turbidites as well as higher sedimention rates. The onset of this influence coincides with a Bronze Age settlement at the lake shore.

laminated sediments varve chronology human activity Holocene Late Glacial Lago di Mezzano central Italy 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antje Ramrath
    • 1
  • Norbert R. Nowaczyk
    • 1
  • Jörg F.w. Negendank
    • 1
  1. 1.GeoForschungsZentrum PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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