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The Holocene history of the NE Black Sea and surrounding areas: An integrated record of marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental change

Marret, Fabienne and Bradley, Lee R and Tarasov, Pavel E and Ivanova, Elena V and Zenina, Maria A and Murdmaa, Ivar O (2019) The Holocene history of the NE Black Sea and surrounding areas: An integrated record of marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental change. The Holocene. ISSN 0959-6836

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Abstract

Here we present an almost complete and integrated Holocene record of marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental change from the NE shelf of the Black Sea. A dinoflagellate cyst record used to reconstruct Holocene sea-surface conditions highlights that the NE shelf was a brackish water environment, with a minimum salinity of 7 psu in the early-Holocene before changing at a gradual rate to a more saline environment with maximum salinities of ~18 psu being reached around 3 cal. ka. A warming phase was detected from 6 cal. ka BP, with warmest conditions between 3 and 2.5 cal. ka BP. A pollen record is used to examine the major climate and land-use changes in the eastern Black Sea region. Biome reconstructions show that the temperate deciduous forest dominates throughout the record, although with an overall decline. From early-Holocene to the first hiatus around ~9 cal. ka BP, Pinus pollen dominates, while taxa representing a mixed oak-hornbeam-beech forest are less abundant, indicating relatively cool and dry conditions. Between ~7.9 and ~6.1 cal. ka BP, a thermophilous deciduous forest established, suggesting an overall warming trend and humid conditions. From 4 cal. ka BP, Pinus dominates the pollen record, accompanied by an increase of herbs, implying an opening of the landscape, which would coincide with the beginning of the Meghalayan Age. The integrated record of the marine and terrestrial climate indicators supports the notion that this change in landscape may have been triggered by a combination of warmer and drier conditions and human activities in this region.

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