Deglaciation and Holocene climate change in the western Peruvian Andes

TitleDeglaciation and Holocene climate change in the western Peruvian Andes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWeng, CY, Bush, MB, Curtis, JH, Kolata, AL, Dillehay, TD, Binford, MW
JournalQuaternary Research
Date PublishedJul
Accession NumberWOS:000238690400008

Pollen, charcoal, magnetic susceptibility, and bulk density data provide the first paleoecological record spanning the last 33,000 years from the western cordillera of the Peruvian Andes. Sparse super-puna vegetation existed before 30,000 cat yr B.P. around Lake Compuerta (3950 m elevation), prior to a sedimentary hiatus that lasted until c. 16,200 cat yr B.P. When sedimentation resumed, a glacial foreland or super-puna flora is represented in which Polylepis was a significant element. Glacial outwash, marked by high sedimentary magnetic susceptibility, increased from c. 16,200 cat yr B.P. and reached a peak at c. 13,200 cat yr B.P. Between c. 12,500 cat yr B.P. and 10,000 cat yr B.P., magnetic susceptibility was reduced. Vegetation shifts suggest a cool dry time, consistent with regional descriptions of the Younger Dryas event. Deglaciation resumes by 10,000 cat yr B.P. and the last ice is lost from the catchnient at similar to 7500 cat yr B.P. During the early Holocene warm and dry period between 10,000 and 5500 cat yr B.P., Alnus expanded in downslope forests. Alnus declined in abundance at 5500 cat yr B.P. when wetter and cooler conditions returned and human activity intensified. Maize (Zea mays) pollen first occurred in the core at similar to 2600 cat yr B.P., indicating a minimum age for local agriculture. An increase in Alnus pollen abundance at similar to 1000 cat yr B.P. could be due to human activity or perhaps due to a regional climate change associated with cultural turnover elsewhere in the Andes at this time. (c) 2006 University of Washington. All rights reserved.