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Paleoclimate and weathering of the Tokaj (Hungary) loess–paleosol sequence

Schatz, Ann-Kathrin, Scholten, Thomas, Kühn, Peter
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2015 v.426 pp. 170-182
atmospheric precipitation, carbon, dust, loess, paleoclimatology, paleoecology, paleosolic soil types, stable isotopes, temperature, trace elements, weathering, Hungary, Southern European region
The Tokaj loess–paleosol sequence (Northeast Hungary) is a well-studied site in Southeast Europe where detailed paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the Quaternary have been carried out. In this study, the geochemical composition of samples from the upper part of the sequence (45–21ka) was analyzed and a variety of commonly used weathering indices and element ratios were applied to estimate weathering intensity, a common semi-quantitative proxy of paleoclimatic conditions. Further, similarities and differences between these weathering indices and their sensitivity to changes in paleoclimatic conditions were assessed. Results indicate that all of them accurately track changes in weathering intensity and are, with minor exceptions, very similar to each other.Based on different transfer functions for major and trace element concentrations (XRF), mass-specific magnetic susceptibility (Χ) and stable carbon isotopic (δ13C) data, mean annual paleotemperature and mean annual paleoprecipitation for the time intervals of paleosol formation (45–27ka) and dust deposition (27–21ka) were calculated. Results differ depending on the respective transfer function and method but agree with (X-, δ13C-based), or slightly overestimate (XRF-based), previously published paleoclimate data of the region. XRF- and δ13C-based results converge to a mean annual temperature (MAT) range of 8.5–10°C (paleosol) and 8–9°C (loess) and a mean annual precipitation (MAP) range of 700–900mma−1 (paleosol) and 550–700mma−1 (loess). Χ-based results are most consistent with literature data and yield MATs of 8.4°C (paleosol) and 6.6°C (loess) and MAPs of 300–500mma−1 (paleosol) and 220mma−1 (loess).