Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Clim. Past, 9, 679–686, 2013

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

Clim. Past, 9, 679–686, 2013

Research article 14 Mar 2013

Research article | 14 Mar 2013

Amplified bioproductivity during Transition IV (332 000–342 000 yr ago): evidence from the geochemical record of Lake El'gygytgyn

L. Cunningham1,*, H. Vogel2,3, V. Wennrich2, O. Juschus2, N. Nowaczyk4, and P. Rosén1 L. Cunningham et al.
  • 1Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC), Umeå University, 98107 Abisko, Sweden
  • 2University of Cologne, Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Zuelpicher Str. 49a, 0674 Cologne, Germany
  • 3University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Baltzerstr. 1 + 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 4GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Section 3.3, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • *now at: Department of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL, Scotland, UK

Abstract. To date, terrestrial archives of long-term climatic change within the Arctic have widely been restricted to ice cores from Greenland and, more recently, sediments from Lake El'gygytgyn in northeast Arctic Russia. Sediments from this lake contain a paleoclimate record of glacial-interglacial cycles during the last three million years. Low-resolution studies at this lake have suggested that changes observed during Transition IV (the transition from marine isotope stage (MIS) 10 to MIS 9) are of greater amplitude than any observed since. In this study, geochemical parameters are used to infer past climatic conditions thus providing the first high-resolution analyses of Transition IV from a terrestrial Arctic setting. These results demonstrate that a significant shift in climate was subsequently followed by a rapid increase in biogenic silica (BSi) production. Following this sharp increase, bioproductivity remained high, but variable, for over a thousand years. This study reveals differences in the timing and magnitude of change within the ratio of silica to titanium (Si/Ti) and BSi records that would not be apparent in lower resolution studies. This has significant implications for the increasingly common use of Si/Ti data as an alternative to traditional BSi measurements.