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A 15.4-ka paleoclimate record inferred from δ13C and δ15N of organic matter in sediments from the sub-alpine Daping Swamp, western Nanling Mountains, South China

Zhong, Wei, Wei, Zhiqiang, Chen, Yu, Shang, Shengtan, Xue, Jibin, Ouyang, Jun, Cao, Jiayuan, Chen, Bin, Zhu, Chan
Journal of paleolimnology 2017 v.57 no.2 pp. 127-139
C3 plants, altitude, bulk density, carbon, climate, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, lakes, mountains, nitrogen, organic matter, oxygen, paleoclimatology, primary productivity, runoff, silt, soil, stable isotopes, swamps, temperature, vegetation, China
We inferred past climate conditions from the δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N of organic matter (OM) in a sediment core (DP-2011-02) from the sub-alpine Daping Swamp, in the western Nanling Mountains, South China. In the study region, a 1000-m increase in altitude results in a ~0.75‰ decrease in δ¹³C and a ~2.2‰ increase in δ¹⁵N. Organic carbon stable isotope (δ¹³C) values of the dominant modern vegetation species, surface soils, and the core samples taken in the swamp exhibit a strong terrestrial C3 plant signature. Comprehensive analysis of the core indicates both terrestrial and aquatic sources contribute to the OM in sediment. Temperature and precipitation are most likely the critical factors that influence δ¹³C: warm and wet conditions favor lower δ¹³C, whereas a dry and cool climate leads to higher δ¹³C values. Higher δ¹⁵N values may result from greater water depth and increased primary productivity, promoted by large inputs of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, induced by high surface runoff. Lower δ¹⁵N values are associated with lower lake stage and reduced productivity, under drier conditions. Therefore, stratigraphic shifts in these stable isotopes were used to infer past regional climate. Measures of δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N in deglacial deposits, in combination with total organic carbon (TOC) and nitrogen (TN) concentrations, the TOC/TN ratio, coarse silt and sand fractions, dry bulk density and low-frequency mass magnetic susceptibility, reveal two dry and cold events at 15,400–14,500 and 13,000–11,000 cal a BP, which correspond to Heinrich event 1 and the Younger Dryas, respectively. A pronounced warm and wet period that occurred between those dry episodes, from 14,500 to 13,000 cal a BP, corresponds to the Bølling–Allerød. The δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N data, however, do not reflect a warm and wet early Holocene. The Holocene optimum occurred between ~8000 and 6000 cal a BP, which is different from inferences from the nearby Dongge cave stalagmite δ¹⁸O record, but consistent with our previous results. This study contributes to our understanding of climate-related influences on δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N in OM of lake sediments in South China.