Abstract

A comprehensive palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the last 219 ka has been carried out by determining the isotopic signatures (δ18O and δ13C) in 766 samples of a thermogene travertine formation in the Guadix-Baza Tertiary basin (Granada, SE Spain). This travertine formation was dated from ≈ 220 to ≈ 5 ka by means of the alpha-spectrometry technique. Initially, the study of the δ18O values of the travertine formation was carried out because they are excellent indicators of the overall palaeoclimatic condition of a particular site. Likewise, the evolution of δ13C values, which can be directly related to the biomass development of the site, has also been studied. Finally, an integrated study of both isotopic records has been performed, identifying a total of 12 climatic periods based on their palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental conditions. These periods are grouped into four climatic scenarios: scenario A, characterized by warm and dry periods; scenario B, characterized by cold and humid periods; scenario C, constituted by warm and humid periods; and scenario D, which is characterized by cold and dry periods. Palaeoclimatic scenarios A and B mainly characterized the palaeoclimatic evolution of the site, while in northern Europe the palaeoclimatic evolution is mainly characterized by scenarios C and D. Therefore, it is suggested that the palaeoenvironmental evolution at lower latitudes on the Iberian Peninsula is the opposite of that identified in northern Europe. However, the main climatic events identified at higher latitudes are also reflected in the studied area.

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