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Quaternary, Volume 3, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 4 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Networks of dry valleys (balkas) and hollows account for more than 90% of the total length of fluvial systems in the broadleaf forest and steppe regions of the East European Plain. The model of their development in relation to glacial–interglacial climate cycles is proposed based on the synthesis of published data and a number of new case studies. The drainage network experienced an incision at the end of glacial epochs due to the high amounts of surface runoff. Subsequent aggradation that occurred around the glacial/interglacial transition and then in the beginning–middle of the next glacial epoch transformed deep erosion features into gentle hollows and dry valleys with wide bottoms. View this paper.
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Quaternary Permafrost in China: Framework and Discussions
Quaternary 2020, 3(4), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat3040032 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 602
Abstract
The framework of Quaternary permafrost in China was reconstructed for the first time on the basis of available periglacial, glacial, and other proxies. During the Early Pleistocene (2.68–0.80 Ma BP), permafrost advanced southwards to 47–50° N in northern China and possibly occurred in [...] Read more.
The framework of Quaternary permafrost in China was reconstructed for the first time on the basis of available periglacial, glacial, and other proxies. During the Early Pleistocene (2.68–0.80 Ma BP), permafrost advanced southwards to 47–50° N in northern China and possibly occurred in alpine regions in western China. During the Middle Pleistocene (800–130 ka BP), permafrost occurred extensively on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) and in alpine or mountainous regions of northern, western, central, and northeastern China. The Great Interglacial occurred afterward and before the Last Glaciation, but the evidence of permafrost for this period has been seldom found. Permafrost evolution of the Last Glaciation (72–19 ka BP) in China is divided into: Expansion (72~50 ka BP), degradation (50–26 ka BP), and intensive expansion during the Last Permafrost Maximum (LPMax, 26–19 ka BP) with a permafrost extent of 5.3 × 106~5.4 × 106 km2, and when major features of present permafrost took shape. Permafrost fluctuated during the Younger Dryas (12.9–11.7 ka BP). Since the Holocene, permafrost in China expanded and retreated to lesser extents, forming the current permafrost environment. The Holocene evolution of permafrost was divided into: Unstable climate but stable permafrost during the early Holocene (11.7~8.5–7.0 ka BP); permafrost degradation during the Last Permafrost Minimum (LPMin, or the Holocene Megathermal; 8.5–7.0~4.0–3.0 ka BP) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP; 1.0~0.5 ka BP); permafrost expansion during the Neoglaciation (4.0–3.0~1.0 ka BP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA; 0.5~0.1 ka BP); and recent permafrost degradation (20th century to the present). However, this review paper only provides the framework of Quaternary permafrost in China and some preliminary discussions. Many key questions await further investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Milankovitch Reviews)
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Open AccessArticle
The Late Quaternary Evolution of the Upper Reaches of Fluvial Systems in the Southern East European Plain
Quaternary 2020, 3(4), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat3040031 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Networks of dry valleys (or balkas) and hollows in the upper reaches of fluvial basins in extraglacial areas in the Penultimate Glaciation (Marine Isotope Stage 6—MIS 6) regions of the East European Plain demonstrate clear incision/aggradation rhythms corresponding to global glacial/interglacial climate cycles. [...] Read more.
Networks of dry valleys (or balkas) and hollows in the upper reaches of fluvial basins in extraglacial areas in the Penultimate Glaciation (Marine Isotope Stage 6—MIS 6) regions of the East European Plain demonstrate clear incision/aggradation rhythms corresponding to global glacial/interglacial climate cycles. The first phase of each incision/aggradation rhythm began after the global glacial maximum and was characterized by a cool and humid climate, permafrost and sparse vegetation, when high surface runoff and active linear erosion formed a dense network of gullies. The second phase occurred at the glacial–interglacial transition and the subsequent interglacial period with its warm and humid climate and dense vegetation. This phase was distinguished by the partial filling of fluvial forms with slopewash deposits, the transformation of gullies into dry valleys (balkas) and the subsequent stabilization of fluvial forms marked by the formation of mature soils on the sides and bottoms of balkas. The third phase of the rapid accumulation of balkas developed during the cold and dry part of the next glacial epoch, resulting in the balkas becoming shallow hollows filled in with sediments. The last full incision/aggradation rhythm occurred in the late MIS 6 to mid-MIS 2. The erosion network formed during the late MIS 6 was almost completely filled by mid-MIS 2, and its manifestation in the modern topography is limited to a network of shallow hollows in the upper parts of the fluvial systems. The modern (incomplete) incision/aggradation rhythm began in the late MIS 2 and caused the formation of the modern erosion landscape in the upper reaches of fluvial systems. This rhythm is now in the stabilization phase, and the main accumulation phase of this rhythm is still far in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Archives: Climatic and Topographical Influences)
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Open AccessArticle
A Tale of Maize, Palm, and Pine: Changing Socio-Ecological Interactions from Pre-Classic Maya to the Present Day in Belize
Quaternary 2020, 3(4), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat3040030 - 17 Oct 2020
Viewed by 901
Abstract
The environmental impact of the ancient Maya, and subsequent ecological recovery following the Terminal Classic decline, have been the key foci of research into socio-ecological interactions in the Yucatán peninsula. These foci, however, belie the complex pattern of resource exploitation and agriculture associated [...] Read more.
The environmental impact of the ancient Maya, and subsequent ecological recovery following the Terminal Classic decline, have been the key foci of research into socio-ecological interactions in the Yucatán peninsula. These foci, however, belie the complex pattern of resource exploitation and agriculture associated with post-Classic Maya societies and European colonisation. We present a high-resolution, 1200-year record of pollen and charcoal data from a 52-cm short core extracted from New River Lagoon, near to the European settlement of Indian Church, northern Belize. This study complements and extends a previous 3500-year reconstruction of past environmental change, located 1-km north of the new record and adjacent to the ancient Maya site of Lamanai. This current study shows a mixed crop production and palm agroforestry management strategy of the ancient Maya, which corroborates previous evidence at Lamanai. Comparison of the two records suggests that core agricultural and agroforestry activities shifted southwards, away from the centre of Lamanai, beginning at the post-Classic period. The new record also demonstrates that significant changes in land-use were not associated with drought at the Terminal Classic (ca. CE 1000) or the European Encounter (ca. CE 1500), but instead resulted from social and cultural change in the post-Classic period (CE 1200) and new economies associated with the British timber trade (CE 1680). The changes in land-use documented in two adjacent records from the New River Lagoon underline the need to reconstruct human–environment interactions using multiple, spatially, and temporally diverse records. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Activities and Development of Food Production in the Holocene)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Climate Model Simulations of the Younger Dryas Cold Event
Quaternary 2020, 3(4), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/quat3040029 - 03 Oct 2020
Viewed by 780
Abstract
Results of five climate model simulation studies on the Younger Dryas cold event (YD) are compared with a focus on temperature and precipitation. Relative to the Bølling-Allerød interstadial (BA), the simulations show consistent annual cooling in Europe, Greenland, Alaska, North Africa and over [...] Read more.
Results of five climate model simulation studies on the Younger Dryas cold event (YD) are compared with a focus on temperature and precipitation. Relative to the Bølling-Allerød interstadial (BA), the simulations show consistent annual cooling in Europe, Greenland, Alaska, North Africa and over the North Atlantic Ocean and Nordic Seas with maximum reduction of temperatures being simulated over the oceans, ranging from −25 °C to −6 °C. Warmer conditions were simulated in the interior of North America. In two experiments, the mid-to-high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere were also warmer, associated with a strong bi-polar seesaw mechanism in response to a collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The modelled YD-BA temperature response was in general agreement with proxy-based evidence. The simulations reveal reduced YD-BA precipitation (up to 150 mm yr−1) over all regions with major cooling, and over the northern equatorial region. South of the equator, modelled precipitation seemed to increase due to a southward shift of the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The largest uncertainty in the YD is the high-latitude response, where the models show diverging results. This disagreement is partly related to uncertainties in the freshwater forcing. Most model studies assume an AMOC shutdown, but this is incompatible with proxy evidence. Full article
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