Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Clim. Past, 10, 209–220, 2014

Special issue: Initial results from lake El'gygytgyn, western Beringia: first...

Clim. Past, 10, 209–220, 2014

Research article 31 Jan 2014

Research article | 31 Jan 2014

Biogeochemical variability during the past 3.6 million years recorded by FTIR spectroscopy in the sediment record of Lake El'gygytgyn, Far East Russian Arctic

C. Meyer-Jacob1, H. Vogel3,2, A. C. Gebhardt4, V. Wennrich2, M. Melles2, and P. Rosén5,1 C. Meyer-Jacob et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
  • 2Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zuelpicher Str. 49a, 50674 Cologne, Germany
  • 3Institute of Geological Sciences & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Columbusstraße, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 5Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC), Abisko Scientific Research Station, 981 07 Abisko, Sweden

Abstract. A number of studies have shown that Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIRS) can be applied to quantitatively assess lacustrine sediment constituents. In this study, we developed calibration models based on FTIRS for the quantitative determination of biogenic silica (BSi; n = 420; gradient: 0.9–56.5%), total organic carbon (TOC; n = 309; gradient: 0–2.9%), and total inorganic carbon (TIC; n= 152; gradient: 0–0.4%) in a 318 m-long sediment record with a basal age of 3.6 million years from Lake El'gygytgyn, Far East Russian Arctic. The developed partial least squares (PLS) regression models yield high cross-validated (CV) R2CV = 0.86–0.91 and low root mean square error of cross-validation (RMSECV) (3.1–7.0% of the gradient for the different properties). By applying these models to 6771 samples from the entire sediment record, we obtained detailed insight into bioproductivity variations in Lake El'gygytgyn throughout the middle to late Pliocene and Quaternary. High accumulation rates of BSi indicate a productivity maximum during the middle Pliocene (3.6–3.3 Ma), followed by gradually decreasing rates during the late Pliocene and Quaternary. The average BSi accumulation during the middle Pliocene was ~3 times higher than maximum accumulation rates during the past 1.5 million years. The indicated progressive deterioration of environmental and climatic conditions in the Siberian Arctic starting at ca. 3.3 Ma is consistent with the first occurrence of glacial periods and the finally complete establishment of glacial–interglacial cycles during the Quaternary.