Quaternary International

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 1040-6182
Publications
Article
Studies of skull morphology and of nuclear DNA have strongly concluded that African elephants comprise two species. Nonetheless, Debruyne (2005) has suggested a single-species model for Loxodonta based on the polyphyly of a single genetic locus, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Discordant patterns between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers were subsequently reported in some African savanna elephant populations, further supporting a two-species model, and prompting us to re-examine here the geographic distribution of different elephant morphotypes and their relationship to nuclear and mtDNA phylogeographic patterns. We used exact tests to compare the distribution of forest elephant-typical and savanna elephant-typical characteristics across eight published datasets containing morphological, mtDNA or nuclear DNA data for African elephants. Among the elephants examined by Debruyne (2005), we found that patterns of forest vs. savanna characteristics were significantly different (p < 10(-5)) between mtDNA and morphology, suggesting the presence of cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation. We show that the eight African elephant continent-wide datasets compared, including that of Debruyne (2005), together support a two-species model with cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation rather than a one-species model, and together indicate that Africa harbors two species of elephant.
 
Article
Aminostratigraphic studies of continental deposits in the UK have hitherto relied almost exclusively on data from the aragonitic shells of non-marine molluscs for dating Pleistocene sequences. This is usually based on the d/l value of a single amino acid, d-alloisoleucine/l-isoleucine (A/I), in the total shell proteins. Two genera of freshwater gastropods (Valvata and Bithynia) are used to explore the value of using multiple amino acids from the intra-crystalline fraction, which should be more protected from the effects of diagenesis than the inter-crystalline component. Results are compared from both the aragonitic shells and opercula composed of calcite, a more stable form of calcium carbonate. In order to put the amino acid data from the West Runton Freshwater Bed into perspective, statistical analyses are used to compare them with results from the Hoxnian (MIS 11) site at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Twelve protein decomposition indicators revealed that the results from the shells were not as clear-cut as those from the opercula. Five indicators from the Valvata shell suggest that West Runton is older than Clacton (at a 95% significance level), but two actually suggested a younger age. Seven indicators show that the Bithynia shells from West Runton are older than congeneric shells from Clacton. In marked contrast, all 12 indicators isolated from the opercula demonstrate that West Runton is significantly older than Clacton. The data are also compared with results from Waverley Wood, an important archaeological site in the English Midlands falling within the 'Cromerian Complex'. Contrary to earlier interpretations, the new amino acid data from Bithynia opercula indicate that West Runton is older than Waverley Wood, a relationship now consistent with the available biostratigraphy.
 
Article
Shell middens are one of the most important and widespread indicators for human exploitation of marine resources and occupation of coastal environments. Establishing an accurate and reliable chronology for these deposits has fundamental implications for understanding the patterns of human evolution and dispersal. This paper explores the potential application of a new methodology of amino acid racemization (AAR) dating of shell middens and describes a simple protocol to test the suitability of different molluscan species. This protocol provides a preliminary test for the presence of an intracrystalline fraction of proteins (by bleaching experiments and subsequent heating at high temperature), checking the closed system behaviour of this fraction during diagenesis. Only species which pass both tests can be considered suitable for further studies to obtain reliable age information. This amino acid geochronological technique is also applied to midden deposits at two latitudinal extremes: Northern Scotland and the Southern Red Sea. Results obtained in this study indicate that the application of this new method of AAR dating of shells has the potential to aid the geochronological investigation of shell mounds in different areas of the world.
 
Article
Modeling the bulk sediment XRD patterns allows insight into the environmental and depositional histories of two neighboring rift lake basins within the Baikal watershed. Parallel 14C-dated LGM-Holocene records in Lakes Baikal and Hovsgol are used to discuss the mineralogical signatures of regional climate change. In both basins, it is possible to distinguish ‘glacial’ and ‘interglacial’ mineral associations. Clay minerals comprise in excess of 50% of layered silicates in bulk sediment.The abundance of smectite (expandable) layers in mixed-layer illite–smectites and the total illite abundance are the main paleoclimatic indices in the clay mineral assemblage. Both indices exhibit coherent responses to the Bølling–Allerød and the Younger Dryas. The smectite layer index is not equivalent to the abundance of illite–smectite, because illite–smectite tends to transform into illite. Repeated wetting–drying cycles in soils and high abundance of expandable layers in illite–smectites (>42%) favor the process of illitization. This relationship is clearly shown in both Baikal and Hovsgol records for the first time. The opposite late Holocene trends in illite abundance in Lake Baikal and Lake Hovsgol records suggest that a sensitive optimal regime may exist for illite formation in the Baikal watershed with regard to warmth and effective moisture.The Lake Hovsgol sediments of the last glacial contain carbonates, suggesting a positive trend in the lake's water budget. A progressive change towards lower Mg content in carbonates indicates lowering mineralization of lake waters. This trend is consistent with the lithologic evidence for lake-level rise in the Hovsgol basin.The pattern of mineralogical changes during the past 20 ka is used to interpret bulk sediment and carbonate mineralogy of the long 81-m Lake Hovsgol drill core (HDP-04) with a basal age of 1 Ma. The interglacial-type silicate mineral associations are confined to several thin intervals; most of the sediment record is calcareous. Carbonates are represented by six main mineral phases: calcite, low-Mg calcite, intermediate/high-Mg calcite, dolomite, excess-Ca dolomite and metastable monohydrocalcite. These mineral phases tend to form stratigraphic successions indicative of progressive changes in lake water chemistry. Five sediment layers with abundant Mg-calcites in the HDP-04 section suggest deposition in a low standing lake with high mineralization (salinity) and high Mg/Ca ratios of lake waters. Lake Hovsgol sediments contain the oldest known monohydrocalcite, found tens of meters below lake bottom in sediments as old as 800 ka. This unusual find is likely due to the conditions favorable to preservation of this metastable carbonate.
 
Article
A sediment core taken from the western edge of the Bonneville Basin has provided high-resolution proxy records of relative lake-size change for the period 45.1–10.5 calendar ka (hereafter ka). Age control was provided by a paleomagnetic secular variation (PSV)-based age model for Blue Lake core BL04-4. Continuous records of δ¹⁸O and total inorganic carbon (TIC) generally match an earlier lake-level envelope based on outcrops and geomorphic features, but with differences in the timing of some hydrologic events/states. The Stansbury Oscillation was found to consist of two oscillations centered on 25 and 24 ka. Lake Bonneville appears to have reached its geomorphic highstand and began spilling at 18.5 ka. The fall from the highstand to the Provo level occurred at 17.0 ka and the lake intermittently overflowed at the Provo level until 15.2 ka, at which time the lake fell again, bottoming out at ∼14.7 ka. The lake also fell briefly below the Provo level at ∼15.9 ka. Carbonate and δ¹⁸O data indicate that between 14.7 and 13.1 ka the lake slowly rose to the Gilbert shoreline and remained at about that elevation until 11.6 ka, when it fell again. Chemical and sedimentological data indicate that a marsh formed in the Blue Lake area at 10.5 ka.
 
Article
Several lines of evidence concur to explain the climatic fluctuations that occurred in the central region of Argentina during the last millennium. The investigation was advanced in two ways: on the one hand, a geographic model was elaborated; and on the other, a temporal sequence for various climatic situations was developed. During the last 1000 yr, two significant events related to global changes occurred: the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA). The Medieval Warm Period was characterized by a humid and warm climate in the plains and recession of the Andean glaciers. In contrast, during the Little Ice Age the plains had temperate, semi-arid to arid climates, and Andean glaciers advanced. In the western region, the fluvial-lacustrine systems were more extensive during cold events (LIA) and contracted during warm events (MWP). In contrast, in the eastern region the fluvial-lacustrine systems showed a diminution during cold events and increased their extent during warm episodes. During the LIA, the occurrence of two cold pulses separated by an intermediate period has been established. The first cold pulse extended from the beginning of the XV century to the end of the XVI century; the second cold pulse (the main one) began at the beginning of the XVIII century and lasted until the beginning of the XIX century. Both cold pulses can be related to the Spörer and Maunder Minimums respectively. These climatic changes modified the landforms, influenced the vegetation distribution and were one of the main factors for control of human activities during the last 1000 yr.
 
Article
This paper summarizes the vegetation history of the past 100,000 years for the Loess Plateau, Central China. The report is primarily based on a recent pollen record from Weinan and on prior records from the Plateau.The pollen diagram of the loess-paleosol sequence at Weinan, in the southern part of the Plateau, displays a predominance of arid shrubs or herbs (Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae) alternating with abundant mesic herbs such as Cyperaceae, Ranuculaceae and Liliaceae indicating a succession of steppe and meadow-steppe environments during the past 100 ka. Forest vegetation developed in a few comparatively short time intervals: Ulmus forest at 95.1–90.7 ka; Corylus woodland at 25.0–21.1 ka, and Tsuga stand at 13.7–11.8 ka.Previously published pollen data with more-or-less reliable dates also indicates that there were different types of steppe vegetation dominating the last 100 ka. The present lack of forest on the Plateau has been explained by plant ecologists as being due to anthropogenic effects. However, in the context of the last 100 ka it appears that there are non-human factors which may have contributed to the treelessness of the Plateau, such as the free-draining nature of loess.
 
Article
Stream terraces are geomorphic markers that can be used to gauge surface deformation in response to tectonic uplift. The surface deposits of the terraces form a chronosequence that indicates the rate and process of soil development. Placing a time or age constraint upon soil development has become one of the most important factors in the disciplines of soil science and fluvial geomorphology. The radiocarbon (14C) method is unable to date old terraces or soils, but the longer half-life of cosmogenic beryllium-10 (10Be) permits this isotope to be useful to determine soil ages and rates of formation. Red soils (redder than 7.5YR) are commonly distributed on old, high altitude stream terraces throughout Taiwan. In this study, three pedons of alluvium-related red soils were sampled from the Taoyang (TY-YM), Pakua (PK-1), and Chiayi terraces (CY-1), respectively located in northern, central, and southern Taiwan. According to field morphology and chemical analyses, these red soils are characterized in Soil Taxonomy as being highly weathered, and they are classified as Typic Hapludox (TY-YM and PK-1), and Typic Paleudult (CY-1). Meteoric 10Be dating shows ages of ⩾261 ka for TY-YM, ⩾124 ka for PK-1, and ⩾386 ka for CY-1. However, the trend of these ages does not agree with the degree of soil development. The former two ages are likely underestimated through loss of 10Be due to strong leaching and considerable erosion. The age obtained from CY-1 may represent the required time for soils develop into oxisols in Taiwan.
 
Article
Most of western Canada was covered by ice until about 12,000 BP. Environments suitable for human habitation were established by about 11,500 BP. The earliest known human occupations date to about 10,700 BP. Para-glacial processes may have destroyed most early sites. Post-glacial colonization occurred from the south. Only 14 archaeological sites contain radiocarbon dates earlier than 9000 BP. The limited data from these sites suggest initial exploitation of big game in open environments until about 10,000 BP. Sites dating between 10,000 and 9000 BP are known mainly from the southern interior plains, and document a continuation of bison hunting. Adaptive strategies in early boreal forests are still unknown.
 
Article
Two cores from Andringitra Massif (Madagascar), the peatbog of Andonaham Pasipotsy (2000 m a.s.l.) and Amboromena Lac (2400 m a.s.l.), have been analysed to reconstruct the late Pleistocene–Holocene (last 12,000 yr BP) evolution of the area. Andonaham Pasipotsy is a small depression, originally a glacier cirque barred by a push moraine and infilled by post-glacial sediments. Amboromena Lac is an etche depression developed across a big fracture crossing the Andringitra Massif also infilled by post-glacial sediments. This paper presents the first mention of glacier features for Madagascar.
 
Article
Laacher See Volcano (LSV), 40 km south of Bonn, explosively erupted ca. 6.3 km3 of chemically strongly zoned phonolite magma probably during spring, 12,900 years ago, the resulting eruption column having reached at least 20 km in height. The bulk of the Laacher See Tephra (LST) was deposited east of the volcano within the Neuwied Basin. LST ashes form the most important stratigraphic marker in Lateglacial deposits over much of Central Europe. A minimum of 2 Mt total S was calculated to have been released during the eruption by comparing pre- and posteruptive volatile concentrations in glass inclusions and pumice matrix glasses. Because a separate S-bearing vapor phase was probably present in the magma prior to eruption as indicated by the high melt-H2O contents close to saturation level, the actual amount of S released during the eruption, could have significantly exceeded 2 Mt. The sulfuric acid aerosol layer resulting from the massive stratospheric S-input probably resided in the stratosphere for years and most likely had a significant impact on climate and thus the environment. Increased precipitation in central Europe and/or impairment of the vegetation cover for several years is suggested by several proxies, especially increased sediment supply into lakes. Proximal to the eruptive center, major environmental impacts include an initial blast that felled trees up to 4 km away from vent. Fast deposition of huge tephra volumes led to the complete disruption of Rhine River within the lower Neuwied Basin and the damming up of a lake ca. 140 km2 in areal extent. Sudden collapse of the temporary tephra dam caused a catastrophic flood wave downstream whose deposits are recognized as far north as Bonn. Reworking of unconsolidated tephra deposits over several 100 km2 was widespread and extensive, generating abundant lahars and flood plain deposits. A braided-river system, established in Neuwied Basin, probably persisted up to several years. Recent reports for a second eruption of LSV are not confirmed.
 
Article
The Lobos site was discovered in October 2000, as a result of the exposure of a stratified set of pinniped bone remains. These remains correspond to the Otaria flavescens species and were found on the walls of a ravine. Research included several samplings; an excavation according to archaeological methodology, and taphonomic, biological, archaeological, geological, and forensic studies. These studies indicate the occurrence of a massive natural death of a pinniped colony 1200 years 14C BP. Associated pupal cases remains suggest that the episode took place in summer and that the pinniped bodies were buried by mass wasting events a month later. Some of the bones were afterwards redeposited by water.
 
Article
The Palau archipelago is a sizeable and geologically diverse set of volcanic and coralline limestone islands in equatorial western Micronesia. Recent archeological fieldwork, pollen analyses, and radiocarbon assays have expanded our understanding of more than 3000 years of culture history in Palau, providing a potentially unique window on the relationship between climate, environment, human adaptation, and culture change in the tropical western Pacific. Our focus is on the period of AD 1200–1600, particularly as relates to the transition between the Medieval Warm Period and the onset of the Little Ice Age. This period encompasses the establishment of stonework villages throughout the archipelago, and ultimately their abandonment in the limestone islands. Paleoenvironmental and archeological data, including settlement pattern analyses, provide mixed but intriguing messages regarding the role of climate in Palauan culture change. Archeological deposits in Uchularois Cave contain domestic pig, Sus scrofa, large-eyed bream, Monotaxis grandoculis, parrotfish, Scarus sp., and the humped conch, Strombus gibberulus gibbosus, that together provide evidence of environmental degradation or overharvesting and the potential effects of climate change on culture. Our data suggest that a greater emphasis on high-resolution data is necessary to properly evaluate the role of climate in Pacific island culture change.
 
Article
We consider it opportune to comment on some of the statements proposed by Westaway R. and Bridgland D. (2007) in their paper “Late Cenozoic uplift of southern Italy deduced from fluvial and marine sediments: Coupling between surface processes and lower-crustal flow” (Quaternary International 175, 86–124), with particular reference to the first half of the paper focusing on the geomorphological analysis of the Pleistocene marine and fluvial terraces that occur along the Ionian coastal area of the Basilicata region (Southern Italy). As authors of some of the papers cited in [Westaway, R., Bridgland, D. 2007. Late Cenozoic uplift of southern Italy deduced from fluvial and marine sediments: coupling between surface processes and lower-crustal flow. Quaternary International 175, 86–124.], we wish to point out several significant inaccuracies in their paper, which are generally due to the misunderstanding or misuse of literature data and which regard (i) both the vertical distribution and the timing of the whole Ionian marine terrace sequence, (ii) the correlation between marine terraces and marine isotopic stages (MIS), (iii) the interaction between uplift and erosion processes in Basilicata, and (iv) the morphogenic model of the fluvial terraces of the Agri River. It is our opinion that the Late Cenozoic uplift magnitudes, rates and modelling proposed by the authors for this key-area of southern Italy using such unreliable data are, therefore, to say the least, questionable.
 
Article
This paper presents an overview of the use of Proboscidean remains in every day Palaeolithic life, in an attempt to illuminate some aspects of the relationship between Proboscideans and humans during the Palaeolithic from an archaeological perspective. A short survey of the evidence is given, focussing on the associations of lithic tools and Proboscidean remains and the utilisation of Proboscidean remains to produce bone tools, objects of art and personal decoration and dwellings. The evidence is compiled and general trends in the archaeological record are outlined.
 
Article
This paper provides a synthesis and an integration of the current knowledge on Pleistocene mammals from the main Mediterranean islands. New evidence enables us to consider faunal complexes, paleobiodiversity, degree of endemism and ways of dispersals into a chronological frame. The Balearic Islands developed an endemic fauna from mainland ancestors spreading during the Messinian. Sardinia and Corsica have had a Pliocene–Early Pleistocene fauna spread from mainland during the Messinian. The arrivals after this time can be related to occasional spreading. During the Early Pleistocene and early Middle Pleistocene, Sicily and Malta acted as an archipelago made up of small islands. Since late Middle Pleistocene, Sicily has been a large island with frequent faunal exchanges with the mainland. During Early Pleistocene and Early Middle Pleistocene, Crete was an archipelago occasionally reached by mammals; communications with the mainland have probably been easier since the late Middle Pleistocene. Cyprus has been completely isolated and developed a strongly endemic and impoverished fauna.
 
Article
Paleolimnological research in mountainous regions of the Western United States provide baseline understanding of how these lake systems will respond to ongoing climate change. Fossil diatom assemblage and loss-on-ignition data were investigated from a ∼13,000-year lake sediment core from the Uinta Mountains, northeastern Utah, USA. Results indicate the presence of three major zones of environmental change: 1) from ∼12.9–10.9 cal ka, modern lake formation began, temperatures were cool, and water was turbid; 2) from ∼10.9–3.5 cal ka conditions were warmer-than-present, and the lake stratified during the summer; and 3) beginning approximately 3.5 cal ka, temperatures decreased relative to the previous zone and the lake appears to have become increasingly alkaline. Shifts in diatom taxa relative abundances within the middle zone (ca. 8.2–6.5 and 5.0–3.5 cal ka) are probably caused by precipitation-driven decreases in alkalinity and increases in lake depth. This record reflects evolution of the lake system and suggests that currently rising temperatures will reduce ice cover and enhance lake stratification and internal nutrient cycling. Any future changes in precipitation patterns may also impact lake ecology through shifts in alkalinity and/or depth.
 
Article
Plant cover and past vegetation development of five mires were analyzed in different orographic and mesoclimatic situations along the NW–SE transect through the Bohemian Forest, Central Europe. Bogs at various altitudes (m), precipitation total (mm) and mean annual temperature (°C) were compared among: (1) wet windward cooling upslope plains at 860 m, 807 mm and 5.1°C, (2) very wet, cold and wind–exposed summit plains at 1120 and 1060 m, 1337 and 1100 mm, 3.2°C and 3.7°C, respectively, and (3) downwind rain-shadow valleys at 750 m, 757 mm, and 6.2°C. The mires of summit plains differ from the others by both present-day plant cover and past vegetation development, which began as late as the Preboreal, 10,000 years ago. Plant cover of their margins is predominated by the krummholz Pinus x pseudopumilio and open central mire expanses are noted by remarkable biodiversity and surface patterning. Mires of lower elevations are represented by domed raised-bogs forested by Pinus rotundata. According to pollen analysis, their development in the NW followed a typical sequence of the Bohemian Forest from the Late Glacial, with steppe-tundra prevailing 11,000 years ago, to the Boreal, with open Pinus and Corylus forests. Since the Atlantic period 6000 years ago, the surrounding forests were formed mainly by Picea, then by Picea and Fagus, and later by Abies, which became dominant in the whole Bohemian Forest since the Subboreal, 4000 years ago. Pinus expanded in the last 300 years. At present, herb and moss communities with scattered Betula pubescens occupy wet lagg, and closed–canopy bog-pine forest of primeval appearance covers the entire mire. In the SE bogs, the development started earlier, 13,000 years ago. Vegetation history here was slightly different; Alnus-Betula carrs have developed since the Atlantic period. At present and in spite of NE, the very centers of these SE bogs remain open, in lagg woods of Betula pubescens with the undergrowth of Phragmites australis prevail. The analysis confirmed that development, vegetation and mire types correspond to the differences in mountain mesoclimate. In extrapolations of paleoecological data from mountain areas the diversification of biotic development has to be taken into account.
 
Article
Marine terraces between 13.5 and 15.6°S. latitude on the Peruvian coast preserve a history of Quaternary sea-level fluctuations and forearc movement above the subducting Nazca Ridge. Field mapping and amino acid racemization/epimerization, electron spin resonance, radiocarbon, and uranium-series disequilibrium ages from mollusk shells from terrace deposits are used to define a marine terrace chronology. Terraces on the Peruvian coast formed during global high stands of Quaternary sea level, in a similar way to the marine terraces on the west coast of the United States, and Baja California, Mexico. A last interglacial marine terrace (125 ka) is preserved on nearly every terrace flight. Along the coast from northeast to southwest, each terrace varies in elevation because of variations in the rate of coastal uplift.Variations in uplift rate from northeast to southwest in the study area are explained by a simple geometric model in which the variables are the rate of plate convergence, morphology of the Nazca Ridge, and orientation of the ridge relative to the Peruvian coast. The oblique northeastward orientation of the ridge relative to the east-west direction of plate convergence results in a ca. 70 mm/yr southeastward migration of the zone of Nazca Ridge subduction beneath the Peruvian coast. The coastal area above the northern flank and crest of the Nazca Ridge is stable or has undergone net subsidence, while the coast above the ridge crest is rising at about 0.3 m/kyr. Above the southern flank of the Nazca Ridge, the coast is rising at a rate of ca. 0.5 m/kyr, the fastest rate determined from studies of marine terraces on the coasts of Peru and Chile. South of the influence of the Nazca Ridge, uplift rates are ⩽ 0.2 m/kyr. The pattern of faster uplift above the southern flank and slower uplift above the northern flank of the ridge is a predictable consequence of oblique ridge subduction.
 
The Fiji Islands, showing the location of Viti Levu and other places mentioned in the text. The Sigatoka River is also shown, and the location of Fig. 2. The inset shows places mentioned along the coast of southwest Viti Levu relative to the Sigatoka Sand Dunes and Sigatoka River mouth.
The Sigatoka Valley showing (a) locations of dated hilltop, cave, and other fortified sites (after Field, 2004) and (b) locations of dated alluvial charcoals (after Kumar et al., 2004).
Exposed Level 3 palaeosol at site VL16/1, Sigatoka Sand Dunes, looking northwest. The palaeosol exposure shows here as a dark stripe of sticky humic sand that runs northwest and then turns west. This photo, first published in Wood et al. (1998), shows a continuous exposure of Level 3 that has been observed only on rare occasions. Arrows indicate the areas sampled for radiocarbon dating. Photo used with permission of Andrew Crosby and Yvonne Marshall. 
Model of settlement-pattern evolution in the Sigatoka area (area located in Figs. 1 and 2) to show the effects of the AD 1300 Event. In all maps, closed circles represent well-established (permanent?) settlements while open circles represent temporary settlements, perhaps occupied only seasonally. Broken lines around settlements represent the area within which agriculture associated with particular settlements took place (this is not shown for modern times in (f)). All inland settlements shown in maps (b)-(e) were dated (see Fig. 5):
Radiocarbon dates for Level 3 on the Sigatoka Sand Dunes
Article
In the Sigatoka Valley on Viti Levu Island in Fiji, three independent studies of last-millennium environmental and human-societal changes suggest that these were driven largely by the climate and sea-level changes of the AD 1300 Event. Establishment dates for interior fortified hilltop (or cave) settlements show that a significant number were established during or shortly after the AD 1300 Event, probably in response to primarily food shortages arising from sea-level fall (affecting coastal populations) and water-table fall (affecting coastal and inland populations). Charcoal concentrations in valley-floor sediments formed as a result of largely human burning of vegetation associated with the establishment of inland hilltop settlements; radiocarbon dates from these charcoals also suggest significant numbers of such settlements being established during or shortly after the AD 1300 Event. The main dune at the Sigatoka River mouth is underlain by the ‘Level 3’ palaeosol, dated to the AD 1300 Event, which implies that thereafter an abrupt and sustained increase in suspended fluvial sediment, associated in increased inland population, began to build the high dunes visible today. This study provides a well-constrained example of the effects that the AD 1300 Event had on Pacific Islands and their people.
 
Article
Sedimentological and palynological analyses of two sediment cores from the intramontane Bandung basin (Java, Indonesia) provide the first palaeoclimatic record for the Indonesian region covering the last 135,000 years. Our data indicate anomalously dry conditions for the penultimate glacial and very warm and humid conditions during the last interglacial. During the last glacial period, fresh water swamp forests of the Bandung plain were replaced by open swamp vegetation, dominated by grasses and sedges, indicating a change to considerably drier climatic conditions, possibly as a consequence of lower sea levels at the onset of glacial conditions. For the Last Glacial Maximum, temperatures 4–7°C lower than at present are recorded.
 
Article
At the end of the Pleistocene in Central-Eastern Europe, the accumulation of periglacial loess had already finished. From the end of loess accumulation to the establishment of grass cover and forest succession in this area, a phase of active modeling of the land surface by slope processes occurred. Before the beginning of the Holocene, this activity stopped and mollisol and alfisol formation started. These soils are preserved beneath Holocene colluvia. Until the Neolithic age, the area of loess formations in Poland was uninhabited. The extensive Neolithic agriculture locally induced soil erosion, causing slopewash on farmedslopes. The scale of this process and establishing the age of the successive stages of the prehistoric soil erosion in loess deposits in Poland is a key problem in the investigations of the human–environment relationship in prehistory. Chronostratigraphy of the preserved Holocene colluvia is very helpful in the solution of these problems. Optical (OSL) dating was applied in chronostratigraphical analyses. Due to expected partial bleaching during sediment transport, a single-aliquot regenerative dose protocol (SAR) was applied. Insufficient bleaching during transport on the slope is expected to be a serious problem for luminescence dating of loess colluvia, and causes overestimation of the OSL age. Quartz from the study site was suitable for age determination by SAR. The youngest 50-year old colluvia were also studied using the 137Cs method. The reliability of the obtained results is discussed in this paper, as well as the influence of environmental processes and type of the applied methods on chronological assignments. The precise age determination of loess colluvia is important for study of the human impact on the environment. The results of OSL dating show that soil erosion started in the Neolithic, with three phases of soil erosion: Neolithic, Middle Ages, and modern.
 
World map showing the spatio-temporal distribution of Proboscidean kill/scavenge sites for Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. Site location is indicated by the base of the pin and site age is indicated by pin length. Ages (and pin lengths) are logarithmically scaled.  
Clovis sites showing secure subsistence associations with Proboscideans 
Old World sites showing evidence of subsistence use of Proboscideans
The relative frequency of the occurrence of Proboscideans in faunal assemblages from various Old World spatio-temporal regions in comparison to Clovis. UP ¼ Upper Paleolithic, EUP ¼ Early Upper Paleolithic, MUP ¼ Middle Upper Paleolithic, LUP ¼ Late Upper Paleolithic, MP ¼ Middle Paleolithic.  
Article
Recent evaluation of the use of Pleistocene megafauna by Clovis hunter-gatherers has suggested that a small number of reliable associations between Clovis artifacts and the remains of Proboscideans are documented, with perhaps as few as 14 occurrences currently known. Specifically, we ask whether 14 is a large or a small number of associations given the spatio-temporal dimensions of the Clovis period in North America. To place these 14 occurrences into context, we compare the time–space density and relative frequency of Clovis Proboscidean-bearing sites to those of Old World contexts. We develop models to identify the variables contributing to the archeological record of Proboscidean site creation, destruction, and sampling. While acknowledging potential biases in the record, comparative analysis suggests that the Clovis archeological record, with the possible exception of Lower Paleolithic of Iberia, indicates the highest frequency of subsistence exploitation of Proboscidea anywhere in the prehistoric world.
 
Article
The teeth and bone fragments of Alopex lagopus of early Weichselian age from Mousterian layers of grotto Prolom 2 in Crimea have been studied. The Crimean fossil arctic fox was found to be smaller than the late Weichselian subspecies, A. l. rossicus, from the East European Plain, but it seems to be similar in dimensions to the recent insular subspecies, A. l. spitzbergenensis. From the latter, the Crimean arctic fox differs in the relatively longer carnassial teeth and relatively wider m1. In the Late Pleistocene of Europe, a progressive increase in size of A. lagopus is observed, that makes it possible to recognize two subspecies, stratigraphically replacing one another. The arctic fox from Prolom 2 is presumably referable to the subspecies A. l. meridionalis, while the animals from another Crimean Upper Paleolithic site, Siuren 1, are referred to A. l. fossilis.
 
Article
The atmospheric record during the Late Glacial and the early Holocene shows sharp increases simultaneous with cold climatic phases. These increases in the atmospheric content are usually explained as the effect of reduced oceanic CO2 ventilation after episodic outbursts of large meltwater reservoirs into the North Atlantic. In this hypothesis the stagnation of the thermohaline circulation is the cause of both climate change as well as an increase in atmospheric . As an alternative hypothesis we propose that changes in production give an indication for the cause of the recorded climate shifts: changes in solar activity cause fluctuations in the solar wind, which modulate the cosmic ray intensity and related production. Two possible mechanisms amplifying the changes in solar activity may result in climate change. In the case of a temporary decline in solar activity: (1) reduced solar UV intensity may cause a decline of stratospheric ozone production and cooling as a result of less absorption of sunlight. This might influence atmospheric circulation patterns (extension of Polar Cells and equatorward relocation of mid-latitude storm tracks), with effects on oceanic circulation, and (2) increased cosmic ray intensity may stimulate cloud formation and precipitation, while production increases.
 
Article
Late Wisconsinan micromammal faunas collected from caves in southeastern North America are characterized by nearly twice the number of species than are present in the region today. It has been proposed that this richness was achieved by paleoenvironments that permitted both the immigration and intermingling of boreal, steppe, and sub-tropical taxa with the present day deciduous forest micromammal community. Contemporaneity of component taxa cannot be assumed without ¹⁴C dating because taphonomic processes can produce similar configurations. If ‘non-analog’ specimens are contemporaneous, they represent communities with no modern analogs. If the dates on component species are disjunct, they are an artifact of time averaging and the species have a different paleoecological significance. The question remains: What is a significant interval of time to assert a community versus a time-averaging interpretation for Pleistocene faunal configurations?
 
Article
At the University of Arizona's Desert Laboratory, we recently constructed new low-background vacuum extraction and graphitization systems that are dedicated to preparing old (40–60 ka) samples for 14C dating. These systems are designed to minimize the amount of contaminant carbon, specifically atmospheric carbon, that is introduced to a sample during laboratory processing. Excluding contaminants is particularly important for 14C dating of old samples because the impact of contamination increases with sample age. In this study, we processed 20 pretreated and 4 untreated aliquots of Ceylon graphite (a naturally-occurring geological graphite) to determine the total procedural background level, and hence the practical limit, of our systems. Samples were heated under vacuum at 240 °C for 1 h to drive off water vapor and other atmospheric gases, and then combusted in ultra-high-purity (UHP) O2 at 500 and 850 °C to monitor the removal of contaminants and to ensure complete combustion. After SOX, NOX, and halide species were removed, sample CO2 was converted to graphite via catalytic reduction of CO. Fe and Zn powders used in the graphitization process were oxidized, “scrubbed”, and reduced with UHP O2, He, and H2, respectively, to remove sorbed atmospheric C species. Graphite targets were stored in UHP Ar until measurement by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to avoid potential interaction with atmospheric gases. Based on the AMS results, the background level of our system is characterized by a nonlinear inverse relationship with sample mass (adjusted R2=0.75; n=24). For a 1 mg graphite target, the total procedural blank, including chemical pretreatment, combustion, cleanup, graphitization, storage, and AMS measurement, is 0.05±0.01 pMC (2σ), equivalent to a 14C “age” of 61.1±1.8 ka. This should not be taken as the upper limit of our system, however, because if the 14C activity of a sample is statistically indistinguishable from the appropriate mass-dependent blank value at the 95% confidence level (2σ), then its age is considered to be “infinite”. Thus, for a 1 mg target, the practical limit of our system is actually ∼55 ka; for a 0.5 mg target, the practical limit is ∼50 ka. Although our extraction system can accommodate inorganic samples (e.g., calcite, aragonite), the above limits are only applicable to geological graphite, charcoal, and organic samples that are processed via combustion. Future work will be directed toward determining the appropriate background levels for inorganic materials.
 
Article
Several decades of geomorphological and archaeological research in the Libyan Desert conducted by the Cologne projects B.O.S. and ACACIA have yielded a wealth of radiocarbon data from archaeological sites and, over the last decade, also 48 OSL ages, mainly from aeolian deposits. This paper focuses on the combination of both data sets in order to obtain a synthesis of Late Quaternary occupational and environmental history in this region. Case studies demonstrate that despite a poorer time resolution of OSL chronologies compared to 14C data, OSL ages can be more consistent with the archaeological context, particularly if the dating of charcoals poses problems due to poor quality or re-deposition.Comparison of data sets from the Egyptian sand seas and from the Wadi Howar (Sudan) shows that in both cases, OSL and 14C data cover complementary time slices. On the regional scale, however, contradictory intervals of aeolian accumulation are documented which can be explained by the different environmental histories. The results accentuate that interpretation of OSL data has to be done in the context of the entire environmental systems including the effective geomorphological processes.
 
Article
Radiocarbon age determination is one of the most important methods for dating Holocene events. In particular, it has been used to reconstruct the sequence of aeolian morphogenetic phases along the Apulia and Basilicata coasts (Southern Italy). In these areas, three main Holocene morphogenetic phases have been recognized using radiocarbon data obtained from sub-fossil terrestrial gastropods, archaeological data and OSL analyses: those of the Middle Holocene period, of the Greek–Roman time and of the Middle Ages. Sub-fossil terrestrial gastropods have been considered suitable indicators in the detecting Holocene climate–environmental changes. However, it is well-known that they could show problems as chronological indicators mainly due to aging effects induced by: (i) micro-particles of calcite/aragonite in the shell structure, derived from the local substratum and (ii) a variation of CO2 content in the plants eaten. In order to verify these hypotheses, living terrestrial gastropods were collected from coastal areas and analysed using AMS. The results indicate that many living gastropods gave ages of 1500 years older than those expected, thus confirming the aging effect. As 14C ages of Middle and Late Holocene aeolian morphogenetic phases, obtained from terrestrial gastropods, seem to be confirmed by archaeological data and OSL analyses. The aim of this work is to verify if the age anomalies obtained from modern gastropods could be extended to the entire Holocene period.
 
Article
Nile gauge records of variations in Nile floods from the 9th century to the 15th century AD reveal pronounced episodes of low Nile and high Nile flood discharge. Historical data reveal that this period was also characterized by the worst known famines on record. Exploratory comparisons of variations in Nile flood discharge with high-resolution data on sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic climate from three case studies suggest that rainfall at the source of the Nile was influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation. However, there are apparently flip-flop reversals from periods when variations in Nile flood discharge are positively related to North Atlantic warming to periods where the opposite takes place. The key transitions occur at∼AD 900, 1010, 1070, 1180, 1350 and 1400. The putative flip-flop junctures, which require further confirmation, appear to be quite rapid and some seem to have had dramatic effects on Nile flood discharge, especially if they recurred at short intervals, characteristic of the period from the 9th to the 14th century, coincident with the so-called Medieval Warm Period. The transition from one state to the other was characterized by incidents of low, high or a succession of both low and high extreme floods. The cluster of extreme floods was detrimental causing famines and economic disasters that are unmatched over the last 2000 years.
 
Article
New benthic and planktic foraminiferal assemblage census data and Benthic Foraminiferal Oxygen Index (BFOI) values, previously published marine climate proxy data (stable isotopes and Ca/Cd), and unpublished results of total carbon, organic carbon, and calcium carbonate analyses of sediments recovered off central California on the Farallon Escarpment (1605 m water depth; 37°13.4′N, 123°14.6′W; core F-8-90-G21) document paleoceanographic changes during the latest Quaternary which reflect the intensity and source of North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) and surface productivity. Accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates of both benthic and planktic species provide an excellent age-depth model for the last 16,000 years, covering the latest glacial, Bølling–Allerød, Younger Dryas, and early, middle, and late Holocene intervals. A Q-mode cluster analysis separated the benthic fauna into three clusters, one Pleistocene and two Holocene, whereas the planktic fauna was divided only into Pleistocene and Holocene clusters. Stable oxygen isotope values show an increase in water temperature of ∼1 °C from the late glacial to late Holocene and a change in faunal composition of the planktic assemblage implies surface waters warmed as well. A general trend of decreasing dissolved oxygen concentration from the Pleistocene (high oxic; 3.0–6.0+ ml/l O2) to the Holocene (low oxic; 1.5–3.0 ml/l O2) suggested by the BFOI and Cd/Ca data reflect decreased ventilation as the source of the NPIW shifted from the Sea of Okhotsk to the tropical east Pacific at ∼11,000 cal BP. The middle Holocene cooling reported in other central and northern California margin studies is not apparent in F-8-90-G21, which compares more favorably with studies from southern California and British Columbia. Total carbon and organic carbon values are highest in the Bølling–Allerød, early Holocene, and late Holocene. Similarly, calcium carbonate values are high in the Bølling–Allerød and peak in the early Holocene, but decrease significantly in the latest middle and late Holocene which coincides with a depauparate planktic foraminiferal fauna in the upper 60 cm (∼70000–0 cal BP) of the core and poor preservation of the benthic foraminiferal fauna at 40 cm (∼3000 cal BP). Decoupling is evident between the planktic and benthic faunal response to changing climatic conditions, with the surface-dwelling assemblage often leading the bottom-dwelling assemblage by several millennia.
 
Article
At its maximum annual development, snow can cover more than half the Northern Hemisphere land area with one-third experiencing seasonal snow cover. The precise conditions that develop during the annual pattern of snowpack development formation have implications for: (i) soil microbiological activity and nutrient transformations; (ii) the capacity of the accumulating snowpack to retain atmospheric derived solutes; (iii) preferential elution and rapid runoff of solutes from the snowpack during periods of thaw; and (iv) leaching of solutes. Long-term records of annual snow accumulation suggest that substantial, regional scale shifts in snowpack characteristics have been occurring. The accompanying changes in the frequency and timing of freeze–thaw episodes and the evidence of their disruptive and selective influence upon soil microbial processes, when human induced, suggests there are wider implications for nutrient cycling and functioning of mountain ecosystems. This review is focused on alpine landscapes.
 
Article
Results are based on ten hyoid characters of seven proboscidean taxa; four belong to the subfamily Elephantinae. Using PAUP we generated six equally parsimonious trees. The consensus tree yields two polytomies: in the basal polytomy the relationships among Mammut, gomphotheres, Stegodon, and Loxodonta are not resolved; in the other polytomy Palaeoloxodon, Mammuthus, and Elephas are grouped in a cluster. The joining of Palaeoloxodon and Mammuthus has not been suggested previously, and there are ample non-hyoid data of grouping Loxodonta, Elephas, and Mammuthus. For this reason and since a major focus of this study has been to test relationships among Loxodonta, Elephas, and Mammuthus, we relied on studies of other workers and rearranged the consensus cladogram to unite Loxodonta with other members of Elephantinae (Palaeoloxodon, Elephas, and Mammuthus). The hypothesis that Mammuthus is more closely related to Elephas than to Loxodonta is more parsimonious (by two evolutionary steps) than when Loxodonta joins Mammuthus. This finding is provisional and should be retested with additional data, especially with taxa with small sample size, and with specimens of extinct Elephantinae taxa. Results also corroborate other findings that Palaeoloxodon is a bona fide elephant genus; we classify it in the new subtribe Palaeoloxodontina Zhang and Zong [1983. Genus Palaeoloxodon of China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 21(4), 301–312].
 
Article
Neo-ecologists make assumptions about a ‘natural’ or potential vegetation when they argue whether a particular landscape is in secondary and degraded condition. Similarly, paleoecologists attempt to infer a three-dimensional biotic mosaic from a core taken in a low-lying wetland. Yet with millennia of human disturbance, climatic fluctuation, biotic response to long-term climatic trends or catastrophic ‘events’, and co-evolution between Holocene vegetation and human land-use, ‘natural ecosystems’ have not been in equilibrium. While past vegetation changes can be traced, efforts to reconstruct potential vegetation are probably unrealistic. This paper assembles 16th century landscape descriptions of the Bajío of Central Mexico from archival repositories, to characterise the landscape at the time of Spanish intrusion. Attention is focused on five major landscape elements: (1) Riparian woodlands of mesquite, bald cypress and willow, with reed stands; (2) Level, vertisolic plains, with a low-tree savanna (mesquite-acacia-grass); (3) Steeper piedmont plains with stony substrates, probably favoring xeric, thorn-bush associations; (4) Rough uplands with a mix of mesquite-acacia woodland, scrub oak, and thorn bush; and (5) Mountains dominated by live and deciduous oak woodlands. The biotic mosaic of the 16th century appears similar to that of the modern spontaneous vegetation in physiognomic terms, despite changes in structure. Areas of older indigenous settlement were affected by local vegetation disturbance, with partial deforestation near lakes Cuítzeo and Yuríria. While Spanish-Criollo intrusion (1540–1640) brought new, potentially destructive landuse methods, there is no evidence of additional landscape degradation in the Bajío until well into the 18th century. Dramatic changes in hydrology and riparian vegetation are quite recent. Archival documentation provides a complementary methodology to re-examine the interplay of edaphic variation, climate and cumulative land-use in understanding contemporary vegetation, and it can assist in converting proxy data into a three-dimensional landscape.
 
Article
Changes in species assemblages of intertidal foraminifera can be used to estimate the amount of earthquake-related subsidence during plate-boundary earthquakes at the Cascadia subduction zone. The accuracy and precision of foraminiferal methods in paleoenvironmental reconstruction is underpinned by the relations between contemporary taxa and their environment, which are used to calibrate fossil foraminiferal assemblages in sediment sequences. A contemporary training set of surface sediment samples from five intertidal marshes along the Oregon coast was used to determine foraminiferal distributions and prevailing environmental control(s) along elevational transects. Dominant taxa include Balticammina pseudomacrescens, Trochamminita irregularis, Haplophragmoides wilberti, Trochammina inflata, Jadammina macrescens and Miliammina fusca. Unconstrained cluster analysis and detrended correspondence analysis was used to identify two elevation-dependent faunal zones: Faunal Zone I (upland, high marsh, middle marsh) dominated by Balticammina pseudomacrescens, Haplophragmoides wilberti and Trochammina inflata, and Faunal Zone II (low marsh and tidal flat) dominated by Miliammina fusca. Site-specific differences in assemblages at three marshes enabled further subdivision of Faunal Zone I. Zone Ia is based on one or more of Balticammina pseudomacrescens, Trochammina inflata, Trochamminita irregularis and Haplophragmoides sp., and Zone Ib on Jadammina macrescens, Haplophragmoides sp., Trochammina inflata and Miliammina fusca. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and partial CCA of the training set from the Nehalem River marsh transect was used to infer that the zonation of foraminifera is elevation-dependent (39% of explained variance).
 
Article
Understanding of the fluvial dynamics of the Ganga, especially in its lower reach, is incomplete to present. Questions such as why the river changes its course so frequently, or what are the impacts of major structural intervention at Farakka, have not been addressed properly. Open scientific research is impeded by the governmental attitude to conceal water-related data. The present paper deals with the changing courses of the Ganga in West Bengal since the second half of the 18th century. The source materials of this research are maps published by different agencies since the colonial period and a recent satellite image provided by the National Remote Sensing Agency of India.The Ganga enters the Maldah district of West Bengal after touching the outlier of Rajmahal Hills, and swings across the deltaic plain. In the reach between Rajmahal and Farakka, the Ganga has been flowing through a series of distributaries alternately and those channels have now been abandoned. The sequential maps help to understand how the Ganga has changed its course during the known historical period. Since the construction of Farakka barrage, the Ganga has migrated eastward appreciably and has formed a mighty bend. Trapped sediment load above the Farakka barrage has largely induced the recent change. The continuous oscillation of the Ganga in Maldah district, and also along the Indo-Bangladesh border has posed many problems, including land reallocation, population displacement, and border disputes. There should be a paradigm shift in the governmental attitude to look into the matter, not as a purely engineering problem but also as a social issue.
 
Article
Multi-proxy analysis of a sediment core from Qinghai Lake, including pollen, carbonate, TOC, TN and δ13C of organic matter, was used to document regional climatic changes during the last 18,000 years. Climate was very cold and dry before 16.9 cal. kyr BP. The warm and wet period, which began at about 14.1 cal. kyr BP, culminated at 6.5 cal. kyr BP and came to its end at about 4.5 cal. kyr BP. After that, the climate gradually became colder and drier. During the transitional period from the Late Glacial to the Holocene the climate fluctuated frequently. The short-term climatic oscillations, including the Bølling, Alleröd, Younger Dryas and the cooling event at ca. 8.2 cal. kyr BP, appear to be recorded in the Qinghai Lake sedimentary record. The climatic evolution in the Qinghai Lake area during the past 18,000 years indicates that solar insolation changes on the ten-thousand-year scale are the likely driving force of the East-Asia monsoon.
 
Article
In this paper, the relationship between flood/drought change in the Taihu Lake basin (TLB) and ENSO is investigated based on reconstructed flood/drought rank series (FD) and NINO-3.4 SST (DJF) data from 1857 to 2003. With the aid of empirical mode decomposition (EMD) method, the paper reveals that FD series and ENSO both contain strong inter-annual, decadal, multi-decadal and centennial signals, and have quite similar periodicities. The EMD method also obtains a monotonic trend for both series: the trend of FD series is upward, which suggests that flood trend is significant, and the trend of NINO-3.4 SST is also upward showing an increase of El Nino events. Continuous wavelet transform obtains similar oscillations for FD and NINO-3.4 SST series with those of EMD method. The results of cross wavelet and wavelet coherence suggest that there was stable in-phase relation between FD and NINO-3.4 SST from 1857 to 1950s, while this in-phase relation is not clear during recent decades. This conclusion is also verified by χ2 test. These findings indicate weakening linkage between ENSO and flood/drought disasters in the TLB, which must be taken into account in the prediction of flood and drought disasters in the study area.
 
Article
The INQUA scale, based on coseismic environmental effects, appears to be a very promising tool to get long-term and reliable information on seismicity. However, it has to pass through comprehensive testing procedures. Results of the INQUA scale application to earthquake intensity calibration are presented, part of the worldwide testing of the scale. As a case study, the Verny, 1887, earthquake in Central Asia has been chosen. It was a large earthquake (felt over 2,000,000 km2) located in a region with a specific temporal and spatial organization of seismicity. Verification of magnitudes of some large past earthquakes is important for the correct understanding of regional seismotectonics and seismic hazard assessment. The work is based on the original materials collected by the expedition soon after the earthquake in the epicentral area. It is demonstrated that assessment of epicentral intensity derived from total area of secondary environmental effects is reliable. This enables evaluation of the parameters of historical earthquakes based on generalized information of observed earthquake environmental effects (EEE). The epicentral intensity I0 is assessed to be IX-X degrees; the highest observed local intensities are coherent with I0 assessment.
 
Article
An overview of early studies on heavy minerals in the southern North Sea is presented, followed by the state of the art as regards seabed sediments mapping and (sub)recent sediment dynamics. The aim of this study is to relate the findings of Baak's (Regional petrology of the southern North Sea. Ph.D. Thesis, Leyden University, H. Veenman and Sons, Wageningen, 128pp) heavy mineral study and some later mineral studies to the results of more recent seabed sediment mapping activities and studies on sub-recent sediment dynamics. Baak's findings could not be appreciated properly at the time as knowledge in the other fields was almost non-existent. His five-fold subdivision of seabed sands and their geological significance is interpreted with the extant knowledge regarding geological mapping and seabed dynamics. Compared to the two fields last mentioned, heavy mineral studies remain useful in tracing relicts of former surface deposits no longer mappable and in tracking down the fate of material derived from eroded seabed deposits. The symbiosis between seabed mapping, (sub)-recent dynamics and mineral studies generates a very strong tool for the unravelling and reconstruction of the dynamic history of shallow shelf and coastal sands.
 
Article
Monthly precipitation data covering 1956–2002 at 36 rain stations are analyzed to explore the spatio-temporal variability of the seasonal precipitation in the Dongjiang River basin, south China, using a continuous wavelet transform method, Mann-Kendall trend test, and simple regressive technique. The results indicated that: (1) increasing precipitation is observed in spring and winter; while decreasing precipitation is identified in summer and autumn. The increasing/decreasing precipitation trend mostly occurred near the lower/upper parts of the Dongjiang River basin; (2) the spatial distribution of the precipitation anomaly between 1956–1989 and 1990–2002 is similar to that of precipitation trend; (3) in general, 4 time periods are identified: 1956–1961 and 1975–1985 are featured by increasing areal average annual precipitation; while 1962–1974 and 1986–2002 are characterized by decreasing areal average annual precipitation. The areal average annual maximum precipitation has a decreasing trend; (4) the precipitation changes in the Dongjiang River basin are mainly controlled by the south-east Asian monsoon activities. Intensity of the south-east Asian monsoon carrying excess moisture is the main driving factor for precipitation changes in this study. This result will be greatly helpful for further research on availability and management of the water resources in the Dongjiang River basin, the main focus of an on-going research project.
 
Article
The recent sedimentation processes in four contrasting lacustrine and marine basins of Northern Patagonia are documented by high-resolution seismic reflection profiling and short cores at selected sites in deep lacustrine basins. The regional correlation of the cores is provided by the combination of 137Cs dating in lakes Puyehue (Chile) and Frías (Argentina), and by the identification of Cordon Caulle 1921–22 and 1960 tephras in lakes Puyehue and Nahuel Huapi (Argentina) and in their catchment areas. This event stratigraphy allows correlation of the formation of striking sedimentary events in these basins with the consequences of the May–June 1960 earthquakes and the induced Cordon Caulle eruption along the Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault Zone (LOFZ) in the Andes. While this catastrophe induced a major hyperpycnal flood deposit of ca. 3×106 m3 in the proximal basin of Lago Puyehue, it only triggered an unusual organic rich layer in the proximal basin of Lago Frías, as well as destructive waves and a large sub-aqueous slide in the distal basin of Lago Nahuel Huapi. A very recent mega-turbidite in the two distal basins of Reloncavi fjord located close to the LOFZ suggests that 1960 co-seismic movements in this area may have triggered the remobilization of ca. 187×106 m3 of marine sediments.
 
Article
Spatial and temporal characteristics of temperature and precipitation in the Zhujiang River Basin, South China, are analysed in order to identify tendencies in dryness and wetness. Trend tests are applied to daily temperature and precipitation data from 1961 to 2007 of 192 weather stations. Nine indicators are applied in order to detect cycles of dryness and wetness and are compared with the drought indices Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI).Tendencies in temperature and precipitation characteristics can be observed. Significant positive trends (>90% confidence level) can be found for annual temperature, number of warm days, longest warm period, no rain days, and longest dry period. A significant increase in temperature by more than 0.7 K from 1961 to 2007 can be observed in the entire basin and the coastal and far western areas in particular. Negative trends are observed for annual cool days, cool period, wet days, and wet period. Almost no significant trends in annual mean and extreme precipitation are detected. Rain days decreased, and a tendency to longer dry periods and shorter wet periods can be observed.The magnitude of indices describing dryness has increased in the Zhujiang River Basin, and dry periods have become longer while wet periods have shortened in time. Rainfall intensity has increased along the coastline and in the far west of the catchment. This tendency can be partially explained by the weakening of the East Asian Summer Monsoon. Regarding the high temperature increases, the influences of the urban heat island effect due to urbanization and industrialization, especially along the coast and at the delta, should be considered. The high station density and data quality are very useful for describing detailed changes in wetness and dryness in the Zhujiang River basin.
 
Article
Diatom, pollen, foraminifera and thecamoebian assemblages from an outcrop of peat and silt at Girdwood Flats, in the upper Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, Alaska, record four phases of relative land and sea-level changes. The first phase is the development of freshwater swamp above high marsh sediments during relative land uplift, caused by strain accumulation along the locked portion of the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. In second phase, the top 2 cm of the peat, all microfossil groups record pre-seismic relative sea-level rise (relative land subsidence). The third phase is rapid land subsidence, 1.7 m, during the earthquake of March 1964 that initiated intertidal silt accumulation above the peat. The final phase is the colonisation of mudflat by salt marsh communities during post-seismic land uplift. The microfossil data compare favourably with sequences from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia that record late Holocene submergence events caused by earthquakes. The comparable changes in microfossil assemblages record the different phases of relative land and sea-level changes and the magnitude of land subsidence caused by each earthquake (expressed relative to the tidal range at the site). These results raise the question whether preseismic sea-level rise represents any kind of warning of large earthquakes.
 
Article
Paradolichopithecus sushkini Trofimov 1977 is a cercopithecine monkey discovered from the late Pliocene of Kuruksay, southern Tajikistan. Despite the baboon-like appearance of the skull, detailed analysis of the inner structure of the rostrum with computed tomography revealed that P. sushkini has a maxillary sinus, which occurs only in macaques among the living cercopithecoids. This observation suggests that Paradolichopithecus may belong to the lineage of the macaques rather than to that of the baboons. This fact and the fossil records of Eurasian cercopithecines together suggest that Paradolichopithecus diverged from European Macaca as early as the early Pliocene, and then dispersed into eastern Eurasia. Although the dispersal route of the Asian cercopithecines, Macaca, has so far been discussed only in the context of South Asian geographical changes, the distribution pattern of the Paradolichopithecus fossil localities may indicate a more northern dispersal route, such as via Central Eurasia rather than a southern route, such as via South Asia.
 
Article
Two very strong El Niño events during the years 1982/83 and 1997/98 caused dramatic economical and social damages worldwide. However, it is quite uncertain how these events rank in a long-term perspective and how frequent events of similar magnitude were in the past. Very-high-resolution proxy data for flood events in the El Niño key region of Peru are presented. Strong flood events in the hyper-arid northern and northern central Peru coastal desert occur during El Niño events. The flood data are derived from a laminated marine sediment core. The proxy data reveal that both modern events were recorded as the strongest sediment discharges in the 106KL flood record over the last millennium. Similar or much stronger events occurred much more frequently, especially during the second and fourth millennium before the present. The strongest flood events since the last Glacial occurred during the early Holocene. Though the flood activity estimated from core 106KL is certainly not a perfect recorder of individual El Niño year flood intensity the sediment discharge to site 106KL is far from classifying the 1982/83 and 1997/98 El Niño floods as very strong floods in a Holocene or late Holocene perspective.
 
Article
This study focuses on understanding of the deficient rainfall of 2002 and excess rainfall of 1994 of the Indian Summer Monsoon and its association with large-scale circulation features. Outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and 200 hPa flow regimes have been compared during a deficient year (2002) with those during an excess rain year (1994) for the northern summer months. The main emphasis is on the month of July (2002) when rainfall was the lowest during the past 100 years. Positive OLR anomalies of substantial magnitude are prominent over large parts of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, most parts of India. Negative OLR anomalies prevailed over the north Pacific in July 2002. These positive OLR anomalies during the deficient Summer Monsoon of 2002 indicate very weak convection over the Indian subcontinent. The opposite patterns of OLR anomalies are found in the excess rain monsoon of 1994. Examination of upper tropospheric (200 hPa) circulation fields indicates significant changes in velocity potential, stream function, and geopotential height anomalies during 2002 and 1994. The field of geopotential height anomalies shows cyclonic (anticyclonic) anomalous circulation developed over the Caspian Sea near central Asia during 2002 (1994) rain years. The upper level stream function anomalies show weak (strong) upper level high in 2002 (1994) over large parts of India and surrounding areas in July.
 
Article
In this paper, the small mammals recovered from sediments associated with the West Runton Elephant have been analysed and compared with sites in other parts of Europe. Major taxonomical problems are indicated and we suggest ways of utilising such morphological complexity to refine biostratigraphical and chronostratigraphic attributions.The micromammal assemblage from the West Runton Elephant Site so far totals 16 species from the West Runton Freshwater Bed (WRFB). There are strong similarities with the arvicolid spectrum of basal layer H8 in the Koněprusy C 718 profile (Czech Republic), which accumulated under cooler conditions preceding the thermal maximum of an early Middle Pleistocene interglacial. Rare steppic indicators (e.g. Cricetus) at West Runton also imply a somewhat cooler and more continental climate than the present day, but overall the fauna is fully temperate in character. West Runton shares several stratigraphically significant small mammal taxa with Voigtstedt (Central Germany) and morphometric comparisons suggest that Voigtstedt may be slightly younger than West Runton. The presence of Mimomys savini, with a latest occurrence in the early part of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 15, together with the palaeomagnetic evidence suggests the WRFB may have been emplaced during the early part of MIS 17. However, given the complexity of the marine isotope curve during the early part of the Brunhes Chron and differences between global and regional climatic evolution, it is difficult to assign the normally magnetised WRFB to a particular Marine Isotope Stage (MIS).
 
The sites mentioned in the text. 1 – Antrea (Kamennogorsk); 2 – Johannes (Sovetskiy); 3 – Kaukola (Sevast’yanovo); 4 – Koivisto (Primorsk); 5 – Kuolemaja  ̈rvi (Aleksandrovskoe); 6 – Kurkijoki; 7 – Muolaa (Pravdino); 8 – Pyha  ̈ja  ̈rvi (Plodovoe); 9 – Ra  ̈isa  ̈ la  ̈ (Mel’nikovo); 10 – Sakkola (Gromovo); 11 – Salmi; 12 – Sortavala; 13 – Sa  ̈kkija  ̈rvi (Kondrat’evo); 14 – Uusikirkko (Polyany); 15 – Viipuri (Vyborg); 16 – Vuoksenranta (Ozerskoe); 17 – V  ̈ rtsila  ̈ (Vyartsilya). 
Excavation at Rä isälä Juoksemajä rvi Westend in June 2002 (photo: K. Nordqvist).
Article
The Karelian Isthmus has played a central role in understanding Finnish Stone Age and Early Metal Period. This is because of its topographic position with waterways which are connecting several large water basins – the Gulf of Finland, Lake Ladoga and Lake Saimaa. During the Stone Age and Early Metal Period several changes have taken place in the water connections and elevations of all the basins which have influenced the topographic setting of dwelling sites. The Karelian Isthmus has also been the route for people to reach each other in the large areas in the west and east.A central objective of the paper is to elucidate the long research history of the Isthmus particularly in the light of Finnish archaeology. Until the end of the World War II the area belonged to the most important research areas for Finnish archaeologists. After the long period of silence, the fieldwork has quickly increased during the 1990s and particularly in the Early 2000s. For these reasons also this latest period of research will be discussed. The position of sites in the neighbourhood of waterways is discussed, although it is not possible to do detailed examinations of their position.
 
Article
Northern Rhineland archaeological sites provide information on patterns of subsistence and settlement during the late-Pleistocene Magdalenian and Final Palaeolithic and the early-Holocene Mesolithic periods and allow a good resolution of their relative and absolute chronology. The Magdalenian is represented by two major sites in the Central Rhineland (Gönnersdorf and Andernach-Martinsberg). Exogenous lithic raw materials show intensive contact to the northwestern Meuse–Rhine drainage area. This phase of settlement existed in the context of a ‘loess-steppe’ or ‘mammoth-steppe’ and absolute dates show that this was before the late glacial interstadial climatic amelioration. Subsistence was based on the hunting of large herd animals. The Magdalenian is succeeded by lithic assemblages of the Federmessergruppen characterised by short scrapers and backed points. Raw materials suggest that the Central Rhineland population had a radius of mobility approaching that found in the Magdalenian. Sites are particularly well preserved in the Neuwied Basin, due to burial by pumice deposits of the Laacher See eruption, and show that the Allerød population inhabited a mosaic landscape of open woodland and hunted a range of ‘temperate’ species. Evidence for differing site structuration, the exploitation of a diverse fauna and seasonality suggest that Federmessergruppen settlement patterns were possibly as complex as those proposed for the Magdalenian. During the Dryas III stadial the northern Rhineland was occupied or visited by Ahrensburgian tanged-point groups. It has been suggested that exploitation of the northern fringe of the Upland Zone formed an integral part of the subsistence strategy of the Ahrensburgian population involving the spring hunting of reindeer migrating to the uplands. Whereas the Holocene Mesolithic in the northern part of the region probably developed out of the Ahrensburgian tradition, it seems that the Mesolithic to the South developed from Federmessergruppen industries present throughout Dryas III. A small number of Rhineland sites provides evidence for Mesolithic subsistence activities or site organisation.
 
Top-cited authors
Fabrizio Antonioli
  • National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Slobodan Markovic
  • University of Novi Sad
Frank Lehmkuhl
  • RWTH Aachen University
Maria Rita Palombo
  • Sapienza University of Rome
Ulrich Friedrich Hambach
  • University of Bayreuth