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Holocene climate and landscape evolution East of the Pechora Delta, East-European Russian Arctic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Minna Väliranta
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, P.O. Box 64, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
Anu Kaakinen
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, P.O. Box 64, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
Peter Kuhry
Affiliation:
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Corresponding

Abstract

This study presents a multiproxy record of Holocene environmental change in the region East of the Pechora Delta. A peat plateau profile (Ortino II) is analyzed for plant macrofossils, sediment type, loss on ignition, and radiocarbon dating. A paleosol profile (Ortino III) is described and radiocarbon dated. A previously published peat plateau profile (Ortino I) was analyzed for pollen and conifer stomata, loss on ignition, and radiocarbon dating. The interpretation of the latter site is reassessed in view of new evidence. Spruce immigrated to the study area at about 8900 14C yr B.P. Peatland development started at approximately the same time. During the Early Holocene Hypsithermal taiga forests occupied most of the present East-European tundra and peatlands were permafrost free. Cooling started after 5000 14C yr B.P., resulting in a retreat of forests and permafrost aggradation. Remaining forests disappeared from the study area around 3000 14C yr B.P., coinciding with more permafrost aggradation. The retreat of forests resulted in landscape instability and the redistribution of sand by eolian activity. The displacement of the Arctic forest line and permafrost zones indicates a warming of at least 2–3°C in mean July and annual temperatures during the Early Holocene. At least two cooling periods can be recognized for the second half of the Holocene, starting at about 4800 and 3000 14C yr B.P.

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Elsevier Science (USA)

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