Lake Banyoles (northeastern Spain): A Last Glacial to Holocene multi-proxy study with regard to environmental variability and human occupation
Analyses of a 67-m long sediment core from Lake Banyoles (northeastern Spain) have revealed evidence for the palaeoclimate history of the northern Iberian Peninsula. Investigations have included high-resolution and non-destructive sediment-physical, geochemical, and optical methods to generate proxies indicative of sedimentologic variability and climate change. Primary stratigraphic control is based on 14C and U-series dates of organic and inorganic material, as well as tephra from the Late Pleistocene Olot volcanic episode. While preliminary ages obtained for the core base date back to approximately 60 ka, the Last Glacial Maximum (23-19 ka) interval ends at 15 m. The top 8 m of deposits accumulated in the Holocene. Several slump events were observed in the core section, as were microtectonic structures, which constrain the movement. Evidence for palaeoclimate variations in element ratios is interpreted to represent effects of Heinrich Events H0-H5. Associated changes in environmental conditions (e.g., humidity) may have affected human occupation during the Palaeolithic-Neolithic period. Implications on human occupation in northeastern Iberia due to climate changes are discussed from archeological findings and cave sediments in neighboring areas and are analyzed with respect to the palaeolimnologic data of Lake Banyoles.