Millennial-scale vegetation history of the north-eastern Russian Arctic during the mid-Pliocene inferred from the Lake El'gygytgyn pollen record


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andrej.andreev [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The 318-m long sediment record from Lake El'gygytgyn, NE Russia situated in the present-day herb tundra zone, provides a unique archive of high Arctic environmental changes since ca 3.6 million years ago (Ma). This paper focuses on pollen-derived vegetation change during the mid-Pliocene Warm Period (mPWP) and in particular during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) M2, which is known torepresent the coldest interval ofthe Pliocene. Building on initial pollen studies, we provide a more complete record and a more detailed discussion of climaticallydriven vegetation and environmental changes in the northeastern Russian Arctic, spanning the 203-thousandyear interval between 3.383 and 3.180 Ma ago. Pine-spruce-fir-larch-Douglas fir forests dominated the area around Lake El'gygytgyn between 3.383 and 3.330 Ma (MIS MG4 - MIS MG2). Colder and drier climate caused a decrease of coniferous forests and widespread Sphagnum habitats around the lake between 3.370 and 3.357 Ma. After 3.3 Ma, the presence of spruce, fir and Douglas fir decreased again. A very pronounced cooling took place at the first half of MIS M2 (3.312–3.283 Ma), when treeless tundra- and steppe-like habitats became common in the regional vegetation. Climate conditions were similar or only slightly warmer and wetter to those of the Holocene. Numerous coprophilous fungi spores identified in the MIS M2 pollen samples suggest the presence of grazing mammals around the lake. Larch-pine forests with some spruce started to dominate the area again after ca. 3.282 Ma, thus pointing to a significant climate amelioration during the mPWP. However, the forested area decreased, while herb- and shrub-dominated vegetation spread again during MIS KM6 (especially 3.235–3.223 Ma), suggesting a noticeable climatic deterioration and relatively cold and dry conditions.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
52272
DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.103111

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Andreev, A. , Tarasov, P. E. , Wennrich, V. and Melles, M. (2020): Millennial-scale vegetation history of the north-eastern Russian Arctic during the mid-Pliocene inferred from the Lake El'gygytgyn pollen record , Global and Planetary Change, 186 . doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.103111


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