Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Clim. Past, 9, 1053–1064, 2013
Clim. Past, 9, 1053–1064, 2013

Research article 07 May 2013

Research article | 07 May 2013

Heinrich event 4 characterized by terrestrial proxies in southwestern Europe

J. M. López-García1, H.-A. Blain2,3, M. Bennàsar2,3, M. Sanz4, and J. Daura4 J. M. López-García et al.
  • 1Gruppo di Ricerca di Paleobiologia e Preistoria. Dipartamento di Studi Umanistici, Università degli Studi di Ferrara. Ercole 1 d'Este 32, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
  • 2IPHES, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, C/Escorxador s/n, 43003 Tarragona, Spain
  • 3Àrea de Prehistòria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Avinguda de Catalunya 35, 43002 Tarragona, Spain
  • 4Grup de Recerca del Quaternari, SERP, Dept. Prehistòria, H. Antiga i Arqueologia, Universitat de Barcelona, C/Montalegre, 6, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Heinrich event 4 (H4) is well documented in the North Atlantic Ocean as a cooling event that occurred between 39 and 40 Ka. Deep-sea cores around the Iberian Peninsula coastline have been analysed to characterize the H4 event, but there are no data on the terrestrial response to this event. Here we present for the first time an analysis of terrestrial proxies for characterizing the H4 event, using the small-vertebrate assemblage (comprising small mammals, squamates and amphibians) from Terrassa Riera dels Canyars, an archaeo-palaeontological deposit located on the seaboard of the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. This assemblage shows that the H4 event is characterized in northeastern Iberia by harsher and drier terrestrial conditions than today. Our results were compared with other proxies such as pollen, charcoal, phytolith, avifauna and large-mammal data available for this site, as well as with the general H4 event fluctuations and with other sites where H4 and the previous and subsequent Heinrich events (H5 and H3) have been detected in the Mediterranean and Atlantic regions of the Iberian Peninsula. We conclude that the terrestrial proxies follow the same patterns as the climatic and environmental conditions detected by the deep-sea cores at the Iberian margins.