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Temporal evolution of sediment supply in Lago Puyehue (Southern Chile) during the last 600 yr and its climatic significance

  • Sébastien Bertrand (a1), Xavier Boës (a1), Julie Castiaux (a1), François Charlet (a2), Roberto Urrutia (a3), Cristian Espinoza (a3), Gilles Lepoint (a4), Bernard Charlier (a5) and Nathalie Fagel (a1)...

Short-term climate changes in Southern Chile are investigated by a multi-proxy analysis of a 53-cm-long sedimentary sequence selected among eight short cores retrieved in Lago Puyehue (Chile, 40°S). This core contains a 600-yr-long undisturbed record of paleo-precipitation changes. Two measurement methods for sediment density, organic matter and biogenic silica contents are compared and the most appropriate techniques are selected. Together with aluminium and titanium concentrations, grain size and geochemical properties of the organic matter, these proxies are used to demonstrate paleo-precipitation changes around 40°S. Increase of terrigenous particle supply between A.D. 1490 and A.D. 1700 suggests a humid period. Contemporaneously, δ13C data show increasing lake productivity, in response to the high nutrient supply. The A.D. 1700–1900 interval is characterized by a decreasing terrigenous supply and increasing δ13C values, interpreted as a drying period. The magnetic susceptibility signal, reflecting the terrigenous/biogenic ratio, demonstrates that similar variations occur in all the undisturbed sedimentary environments of Lago Puyehue. The A.D. 1490–1700 wet period is associated with the onset of the European Little Ice Age (LIA) and interpreted as its local signature. This work supports the fact that the LIA was a global event, not only restricted to the Northern Hemisphere.

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*Corresponding author. Fax: +32 4 366 22 02. E-mail address: (S. Bertrand).
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Quaternary Research
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