Stratigraphic evidence for a “pluvial phase” between ca 8200–7100 ka from Renella cave (Central Italy)


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Quaternary Science Reviews

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A stratigraphic and chronological study of the upper level of Renella Cave (Apuan Alps, Central Italy) reveals that two episodes of flowstone accumulation bracket a thick clastic layer deposited between ca 8.2 and 7.1 ka. This layer, which represents a period of enhanced cave flooding, is substantially in phase with an interval of depleted oxygen isotope values previously recorded in a stalagmite from nearby Corchia Cave, interpreted to have resulted from an increase in local precipitation. These data confirm that during this period of time the region experienced relatively wetter conditions, including an increase in high-magnitude events capable of invading the higher passages of Renella Cave. The timing of the clastic phase occurred when the Eastern Mediterranean experienced deposition of sapropel layer S1, which is thought to reflect the stagnation of sea water produced largely by enhanced flood activity along the Nile in response to increased monsoon intensity in northern equatorial Africa. Recent estimates suggest that S1 may have lasted from ca 10.8 to ca 6.1 ka cal BP. Combined evidence from Renella and Corchia Cave indicates that the period corresponding to the wettest phase in the Apuan Alps was much shorter than this, and suggests that there is no straightforward connection between increased advection of water vapour from the Atlantic between 8.2 and 7.1 ka, as recorded in the Corchia and Renella records, and monsoon-driven enhancement of Nile discharge and S1 deposition in the eastern Mediterranean.

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