Mediterranean Sea palaeohydrology and pluvial periods during the Late Quaternary
In this paper, we present a comprehensive synthesis of our recent studies on the past hydrological changes of the Mediterranean Sea (Kallel et al. 1997a; 1997b; 2000) and their relation with climatic change, which occurred in the Mediterranean area during the last two climatic cycles. In addition, we have generated a new detailed climatic record of the Holocene in a Western Mediterranean Sea core to determine the timing of the Holocene wet period.We therefore estimated variations of sea-surface temperature and salinity in the Mediterranean Sea during the last 200,000 years. Four cores recovered in the major basins were used. We first show that Mediterranean sediments record both changes observed in the North Atlantic temperature and salinity and in the local Mediterranean fresh-water budget by using a new data of a well-dated core recovered in the Tyrrhenian Sea. We then reconstruct a map of Mediterranean Sea surface salinity (SSS) at the time of the last sapropel (middle Holocene). These data, combined with the sea-surface temperature (SST) estimates, are used to propose a mode of formation for the sapropel. Finally, we have tested the validity of this model for five other sapropels, which occurred during the last 200,000 years.
KeywordsLast Glacial Maximum North Atlantic Ocean Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry Oxygen Isotope Record Levantine Basin
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