Abstract

Pollen records, marine faunal associations and stable isotope compositions of sediments from Rhodes, Greece, have been determined to track environmental changes in the eastern Mediterranean during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. A detailed chronostratigraphic curve, based on magnetostratigraphic data, was obtained by correlating pollen spectra with the Mediterranean oxygen isotopic curve of Ocean Drilling Program Site 975. Five sedimentary sequences that correspond to marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 31–27 and to MIS 20–17 have been investigated in the confined Tsampika microbasin. High-amplitude Pinus variations confirm glacio-eustatic changes deduced from changes in marine faunal associations and sedimentary depositional environments. Reflecting climatic cycles identified in the marine carbonate oxygen isotope record, eight vegetation successions (characterized by the dominance first of mesothermic elements, then of mid- and high-altitude elements with Pinus, and ending with maxima in herb and steppe elements) have been documented. Most of them were probably driven by changes in insolation occurring in high northern latitudes (obliquity impact) during the late Early Pleistocene and early Middle Pleistocene.

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