CS27 Paleolimnology and Paleooceanography
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
 
WestoverKS, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, coyote@unlserve.unl.edu
Fritz, S, C, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, sfritz2@unl.edu
 
INFERRING HOLOCENE PALEOCLIMATE FROM THE DIATOM FOSSIL RECORD OF THREE LAKES OF THE ALTAI MOUNTAINS, SIBERIA
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The Altai Mountains, located at the intersection of Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia, are characterized by strong environmental gradients as a consequence of extreme relief and geography. Sediment cores were collected from three shallow lakes of the Siberian Altai. The westernmost lake, Jangyskol, lies in a forested landscape, while Ak-Kol and Gruscha are surrounded by alpine steppe. The dry continental interior of northern Eurasia is a key location for paleoclimate studies. Of particular interest is the climatic response to higher than present summer insolation during the early to middle Holocene. These records offer a point of comparison to lake records from northwestern and central Mongolia, which are marked by contradictory and equivocal interpretations. Furthermore, the Altai lake records fill a gap in regional geographic coverage of paleoclimate records. Diatom analyses reveal assemblages dominated by small, benthic species throughout the record, with millennial-scale shifts in species composition. The late Glacial- early Holocene record of Jangyskol is also characterized by dramatic variation in species dominance and diversity prior to an apparent desiccation of the lake extending through the middle Holocene.