Year of publication
- 2007 (1) (remove)
- Investigations of the geomorphologic and pedologic system of sedimentary vega deposits from Lanzarote (Canary Islands) supported by luminescence dating – important steps towards their palaeoclimatic interpretation (2007)
- On Lanzarote (Canary Islands/Spain), sequences similar to loess-palaeosol-sequences from other regions developed in dammed volcanic valleys during the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Based on former investigations, we assumed that these sequences could serve as palaeoclimate archives for the NW-African region, an area characterised by a lack of investigations from continuous terrestrial palaeoclimate archives. The material deposited in the valleys consists of Saharan dust as well as of local volcanic material. Due to their location in valley positions and adjacent strongly eroded slopes it is obvious that these sequences do not represent classic loess-palaeosol-archives. Instead, they must consist of a mixture of in situ aeolian fallout as well as of sediments derived from colluvial input from the slopes. Consequently, prior to a correct palaeoclimatic interpretation the geomorphologic character of the archives and the properties of their sediments must be analysed. Thus, in this study we intensively investigate the geomorphologic and pedologic system, combining geomorphologic mapping and quantitative GIS-calculations with sedimentological-pedological methods (grain size, XRD, rock magnetic und pedologic analyses as well as investigation of micromorphologic properties). Furthermore, we built up a chronostratigraphy using different luminescence-methods (quartz coarse- and fine grain-OSL, polymineral fine grain-IRSL). Fundamental investigations on the bleaching-behaviour of recent Saharan dust and colluvial sediments on Lanzarote demonstrate, that in spite of partial insufficient bleaching of the luminescence signal a dating of the valley-bottom sediments is possible. These datings were supported by a correlation of local kaolinite-contents with iron and kaolinite contents from nearby marine cores as well as a stratigraphic correlation between different profiles. Thus, we could establish a chronostratigraphy for the last 180 ka. We demonstrate that outcropped sediments were deposited almost continuously from the Middle Pleistocen until the Holocene, wheras the uppermost sections of the profiles consist of anthropogenic colluvia which can not be interpreted in a palaeoclimatic way. The alternation of reddish-clayey and yellowish-silty layers tracks changes of soil humidity on Lanzarote rather than variations of the composition of Saharan dust. Due to the colluvial dynamics of the valleys, reddish-silty layers in the valley bottoms are no palaeosoils sensu strictu but mainly consist of colluvial soil sediments originating from pedogenesis on the slopes. These soils as well as unweathered material were eroded and deposited with high frequency and low amplitude. Thus, their sedimentation age in the valley bottoms is close to the primary time of aeolian deposition on the slopes and the formation of pedogenetic properties. These findings allow a palaeoclimatic interpretation of the sediment sequences. We could demonstrate that glacials and stadials were characterised by higher soil moisture than interglacials and interstadials. When comparing our results with other palaeoclimatic studies from a broader region, we can show that the causes for periods of enhanced humidity were westerly cyclones using a more southern way than at recent, as well as lowered sea and air temperatures in the area of the Canary Islands. During some periods, soil humidity was possibly occasionally amplified by a northward advance of the African summer monsoon up to the latitude of Lanzarote. Although we are not able to directly derive palaeoprecipitation values from soil moisture, we can show that maximal precipitation values must have been in the the range of ca. 560 mm/a. Our results demonstrate that during most of the investigated period of the Late Quaternary the climate of Lanzarote was influenced by northern high latitude processes. Furthermore, during most of the investigated period the recent aridity of the island was somewhat mitigated.