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Title: Reconstructions of deltaic environments from Holocene palynological records in the Volga delta, northern Caspian Sea
Authors: Richards, K
Bolikhovskaya, NS
Hoogendoorn, RM
Kroonenberg, SB
Leroy, SAG
Athersuch, J
Keywords: Caspian Sea;Dinoflagellate cysts and ostracods;Pollen and spores;Sea level change;Vegetation and climate;Volga delta
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Sage
Citation: The Holocene, 2014, 24 (10), pp. 1226 - 1252
Abstract: New palynological and ostracod data are presented from the Holocene Volga delta, obtained from short cores and surface samples collected in the Damchik region, near Astrakhan, Russian Federation in the northern Caspian Sea. Four phases of delta deposition are recognized and constrained by accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon ages. Palynological records show that erosive channels, dunes (Baer hills) and inter-dune lakes were present during the period 11,500–8900 cal. BP at the time of the Mangyshlak Caspian lowstand. The period 8900–3770 cal. BP was characterized regionally by extensive steppe vegetation, with forest present at times with warmer, more humid climates, and with halophytic and xerophytic vegetation present at times of drought. The period 3770–2080 cal. BP was a time of active delta deposition, with forest or woodland close to the delta, indicating relatively warm and humid climates and variable Caspian Sea levels. From 2080 cal. BP to the present-day, aquatic pollen is frequent in highstand intervals and herbaceous pollen and fungal hyphae frequent in lowstand intervals. Soils and incised valley sediments are associated with the regional Derbent regression and may be time-equivalent with the ‘Medieval Warm Period’. Fungal spores are an indicator of erosional or aeolian processes, whereas fungal hyphae are associated with soil formation. Freshwater algae, ostracods and dinocysts indicate mainly freshwater conditions during the Holocene with minor brackish influences. Dinocysts present include Spiniferites cruciformis, Caspidinium rugosum, Impagidinium caspienense and Pterocysta cruciformis, the latter a new record for the Caspian Sea. The Holocene Volga delta is a partial analogue for the much larger oil and gas bearing Mio-Pliocene palaeo-Volga delta.
Description: This article was made available through open access by the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund.
ISSN: 0959-6836
Appears in Collections:Brunel OA Publishing Fund
Institute for the Environment

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