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The environments of loess uplands to the north and east of the Carpathians during the penultimate interglacial (MOIS 7) in palaeopedological and palaeobotanical records



The stratigraphic rank of warming, distinguished in marine deposits as ‘marine oxygen isotope stage 7’ (MOIS 7) and recorded in terrestrial deposits as a palaeosol, has been discussed for a long time. The purpose of this paper is to describe the climate and environment of the time, determined from palaeopedological and palynological investigations of loess-palaeosol sequences in the peri- and metha-Carpathian zones, and to correlate these sequences with the Pleistocene stratigraphic units. The changes in chemical composition of the deposits were used to reconstruct the processes of chemical weathering and translocation of mobile elements during pedogenesis in three sections (Orzechowce, Galych and Velykyi Glybochok). The variability of the mean annual temperature and precipitation was estimated from the changes of elemental ratios resulting from chemical weathering and vegetation composition. From micromorphological analysis, the stages of palaeosol development and their transformation in cold periods were reconstructed. Pollen analysis carried out for the Velykyi Glyboczok, Maksymivka and Stari Kodaky sites, was used to reconstruct the vegetation cover and the temperature changes of the coldest and warmest months were calculated. The results indicate that the penultimate interglacial period, correlated with MOIS 7, comprised two warming periods separated by a profound cooling period. Warm periods were cooler than the last interglacial and more recent conditions. Vegetation was characterized by the co-occurrence in changing proportions of patches of mixed forests and steppe vegetation. In the cold period, permafrost developed in places and cryogenic structures were formed. Regional differentiation of biotope environments, resulting from the increase in the continental nature of the climate towards the east, occurred during the whole interglacial period.