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Reconstruction of Late Glacial and Holocene landscape-climatic changes in the central Selenga Middle Mountains based on the isotopic composition of organic matter

Golubtsov, V. A., Ryzhov, Yu. V.
Eurasian soil science 2017 v.50 no.2 pp. 176-184
C3 plants, C4 plants, biomass, carbon, climate, humidity, mountains, nitrogen, organic matter, sediments, soil formation, soil horizons, stable isotopes, vegetation
The results of investigation into the composition of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of organic matter in the soils developed within soil–sedimentary sequences in the central part of the Selenga Middle Mountains in the Late Glacial and Holocene are presented. In the past 15000 years, the organic matter of the investigated soils has only been formed from the biomass of C3 plants (without the participation of C4 plants). This is confirmed by the of δ¹³С values from–27.00 to–23.35‰. A combined analysis of the parameters of the organic matter (Сₒᵣg, Nₜₒₜₐₗ, C/N, δ¹³С, and δ¹⁵N) of soils formed in different periods makes it possible to assume that the isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen reflects changes in the climate humidity during the Late Glacial and Holocene periods. The specified intervals of soil formation correspond to the climate humidification and stabilization of the surface owing to the development of dense vegetation. Aridization periods were characterized by the accumulation of sediments that buried soil horizons. The most pronounced stages of climate aridization occurred at the transition from the Late Glacial to the Holocene, from the Boreal to the Atlantic, and from the Atlantic to the Subboreal periods. The optimum soil-forming conditions existed in the periods of 11700–11000, 8800–6900, and 4700–1000 years ago, which is confirmed by the published data on the landscape-climatic changes in the adjacent areas in the past 15000 years.