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Keywords:

  • calcareous tufa;
  • stable isotopes;
  • trace elements;
  • MIS 11;
  • palaeoclimate

Abstract

Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11 palaeoclimate has so far been documented in marine and ice sheet isotopic records. However, excepting some lacustrine pollen records, very little is known about palaeoclimatic conditions in continental areas. This study uses geochemical records in calcareous tufa deposits from rivers as a basis for reconstructing temperate palaeoclimatic conditions. Tufa deposits are now proven to record high-quality palaeoclimatic information in recent to Holocene deposits. Work on older interglacial tufas is just starting and in this paper we present the first comprehensive results from a MIS 11 tufa. The tufa comes from the Seine Valley (La Celle, northern France). Geochemical data in the tufa calcite are interpreted to record primarily air temperature (δ18O) and humidity (δ13C and Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca). The combined data identify a warm and wet climatic optimum followed by two temperature decreases associated with oscillations in humidity. These marked climatic variations recorded through the La Celle profile are strongly coherent with the palaeoenvironmental reconstructions from malacological data. The abrupt climatic and environmental events recorded could be related to short-term degradation of vegetation cover in Europe, which is itself controlled by global palaeoclimatic events. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.