The climate of the Eastern Mediterranean region of the last 60 ky was determined by a high resolution study of the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition (1500 measurement pairs) of speleothems from the Soreq cave, Israel, with chronology provided by 53 precise 230 Th– 234 U (TIMS) ages. The high precision of the speleothem TIMS ages permits us to determine the timing of regional climatic events in the Eastern Mediterranean region and to see if they correlate with global events. During the period from 60 to 17 ky, the δ 18 O and δ 13 C values were generally 2–2.5‰ higher than during the period from 17 ky to present. This is consistent with the climatic transition from glacial to interglacial. Within the 60 to 17 ky period, the Soreq cave stable isotope profile includes four cold peaks (at 46, 35, 25 and 19 ky) and 2 warm peaks (at 54 and 36 ky). In addition, the period <17 ky has two more cold peaks at 16.5 and from 13.2 to 11.4 ky. The ages of four of the six cold peaks correlate well with the ages of three Heinrich events (H1, H2, H5) and with the age of the Younger Dryas. However, the other two Heinrich events are not reflected in the Soreq cave record. Several other isotope peaks which appear during the last 7 ky are contemporaneous with regional climatic events in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to the drop in δ 18 O and δ 13 C observed between the last glacial and the Holocene, sharp simultaneous drops in ( 234 U/ 238 U) 0 ratios, Sr concentrations and in 87 Sr/ 86 Sr are also observed, suggesting that the latter are climate related. These variations are interpreted in terms of major changes in the temperature, the mean annual rainfall and its isotopic composition, the isotopic composition of the Mediterranean vapor source, the soil moisture conditions, and in the mixing proportions of sources with different 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios (sea spray, dust particles and dolomitic host rock).
Earth and Planetary Science Letters – Elsevier
Published: Feb 28, 1999
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