The timing of Quaternary calcrete development in semi-arid southeast Spain: Investigating the role of climate on calcrete genesis
Candy, I. and Black, S. (2009) The timing of Quaternary calcrete development in semi-arid southeast Spain: Investigating the role of climate on calcrete genesis. Sedimentary Geology, 218 (1-4). pp. 6-15. ISSN 0037-0738
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2009.03.005
Quaternary-aged calcrete horizons are common weathering products in arid and semi-arid regions. It is, however, unclear how calcrete forming processes respond to the major oscillations in climate that occur over the Quaternary period. This paper presents a U-series-based calcrete age database from the Sorbas basin, southeast Spain. The study constructs an age frequency distribution of these ages which is consequently compared to a range of palaeoenvironmental records from the Mediterranean. The age distribution presented here suggests that the formation of pedogenic calcrete horizons in the Sorbas basin primarily occurs during 'warm' isotope stages (MIS 1 and 5), with very few calcrete ages occurring during cold glacial/stadial stages (MIS 2, 3 and 4). It is suggested that this is a function of the environments that existed during 'warm' isotope stages being more conducive to calcrete development than those that existed during cold climate episodes. In a semi-arid region such as the Sorbas basin it is likely that increased aridity during glacial stages, coupled with reduced vegetation and accelerated landscape instability, was crucial in reducing rates of calcrete formation. In a semi-arid region such as southeast Spain, calcrete formation during the Quaternary, therefore, oscillates with climate change but is primarily a "warm" episode phenomenon. It is suggested that further studies are required to see how calcrete genesis responds to environmental change in more humid parts of the Mediterranean. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.