Main content area

Buried palaeosols of NW Sardinia (Italy) as archives of the Late Quaternary climatic fluctuations

Zucca, Claudio, Andreucci, Stefano, Akşit, İhsan, Koca, Yakup K., Madrau, Salvatore, Pascucci, Vincenzo, Previtali, Franco, Shaddad, Sameh M., Kapur, Selim
Catena 2014 v.122 pp. 72-90
X-ray diffraction, bioturbation, clay, climate, coasts, cold, cooling, dunes, illuviation, luminescence, microstructure, mineralogy, sand, scanning electron microscopy, soil formation, weathering, Italy, Sardinia
A multi-disciplinary approach was performed to investigate two compound geosols included between wind-blown deposits at the top, and interglacial (MIS 5) beach sediments at the bottom, located along the Alghero coast (North-western Sardinia, Italy). A sedimentological and morphological study was carried out on the profile in the field, and samples collected on the main pedomembers were subjected to several laboratory analyses, consisting of physical and chemical determinations on bulk samples, mineralogy (XRD), micromorphology on undisturbed samples (thin Section, SEM), and EDAX-micro probe analyses. Dating was performed by means of Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). The studied geosols show the evidence of a complex pedosedimentary evolution. Around 80 to 70ka the lower geosol underwent weathering and clay illuviation (wet and warm conditions), followed by calcification-recalcification processes (dry-contrasted), and finally by strong bioturbation. Around 70ka the onset of the glacial period (MIS 4) is marked by the deposition of a sand dune, capping the lower geosol. These results indicate that the coastal area of the central Mediterranean kept the relatively warm conditions typical of the interglacial climate for most of the Early Würm and reached cold conditions only at about 70ka, possibly in relation to the rapid cooling of the Heinrich event H7. The upper geosol developed on colluvial material including abundant pedorelicts and reddish earth material, deposited around 50ka. Before being buried by aeolian sand around 43ka, this deposit underwent pedogenesis phases possibly associated to Middle Würm interstadial events, indicating that in the study area these events were intense enough to influence pedogenesis.