Abstract

At several times during marine oxygen isotope stage 6, the eastern Mediterranean region was influenced by two extreme climatic systems: the large ice sheet over northern Europe and the wet tropics associated with African monsoons. During this interval, two major climatic events occurred in the region; the sapropel S6 layer formed ca. 176 ka in the eastern Mediterranean basin owing to the increase in the African monsoon, and another event, although not large enough to form sapropel, occurred ca. 151 ka. The isotopic composition of Soreq Cave speleothems seems to record these events as very low δ18O-δ13C values dated as ca. 178 and 152 ka. The very low δ18O-δ13C values of −6‰ and −11‰ to −12‰, respectively, are typical of interglacial intervals, but here they were recorded during a glacial interval. Such low peaks indicate that in this part of the eastern Mediterranean region, i.e., Israel, the rainfall amount increased dramatically. Moreover, the isotopic record of the speleothems also shows that during the entire stage 6, although the climate was as cold as much of the last glacial, the conditions were never as dry.

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