Sedimentation processes in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during the Late Glacial and Holocene revealed by end-member modelling of the terrigenous fraction in marine sediments

Y. Hamann*, W. Ehrmann, G. Schmiedl, S. Krüger, J. B. Stuut, T. Kuhnt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We present grain-size distributions of the terrigenous fraction of two sediment cores from the southeast Levantine Sea (SL112) and the northern Aegean Sea (SL148), spanning the time interval from the late glacial to the present. End-member modelling of the grain-size distribution allows discriminating between aeolian and fluvial transport of the sediments and helps to infer palaeoenvironmental conditions in the source areas. Sedimentary and depositional processes during the late glacial and Holocene were controlled by climatic variations of both the northern high latitudes and the African climate system. The sedimentation at site SL112 off Israel is dominated by the suspension load of the River Nile and aeolian dust from the Sahara. Variations in grain size reflect the early to mid-Holocene climate transition from the African Humid Period to recent arid conditions. This climate change was gradual, in contrast to the abrupt humidity change documented in Western Saharan records. This implies a successive decrease in Nile river sediment supply due to a step-wise aridification of the headwaters. The grain-size data of SL112 show a humidity maximum at 5 kyr BP coincident with a regionally-restricted wet phase in the Levantine Sea. The sediments at the North Aegean site SL148 consist of riverine particles and low amounts of aeolian dust, probably derived from South European sources and with probably minor Saharan influence. The sedimentation processes are controlled by climate conditions being characterized by enhanced deposition of dust during the cold and dry glacial period and by decreased aeolian influx during the temperate and humid Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Geology
Volume248
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2008

Keywords

  • aeolian dust
  • Eastern Mediterranean Sea
  • end-member modelling
  • grain size
  • river discharge

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