Stable organic carbon and nitrogen isotopes can be used to interpret past vegetation patterns and ecosystem qualities. Here we present these proxies for two loess-palaeosol sequences from the southern Carpathian Basin to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment during the past 350 ka and establish regional commonalities and differences. Before now, isotopic studies on loess sequences from this region were only conducted on deposits from the last glacial cycle. We conducted methodological tests involving the complete decalcification of the samples prior to stable isotope analyses. Two decalcification methods (fumigation method and wet chemical acidification), different treatment times, and the reproducibility of carbon isotope analyses were tested. Obtained results indicate that the choice of the decalcification method is important for organic carbon stable isotope analyses of loess-palaeosol sequences because ratios vary by more than 10‰ between the wet chemical and fumigation methods, due to incomplete carbonate removal by the latter. Therefore, we suggest avoiding the fumigation method for studies on loess-palaeosol sequences. In addition, our data show that samples with TOC content <0.2% bear increased potential for misinterpretation of their carbon isotope ratios. For our sites, C3-vegetation is predominant and no palaeoenvironmental shifts leading to a change of the dominant photosynthesis pathway can be detected during the Middle to Late Pleistocene. Furthermore, the importance of further stable nitrogen isotope studies is highlighted, since this proxy seems to reflect past precipitation patterns and reveals favourable conditions in the southern Carpathian Basin, especially during interstadials.
Pötter, S., Schmitz, A., Lücke, A., Schulte, P., Obreht, I., Zech, M., Wissel, H., Markovic, S., Lehmkuhl, F. (2021): Middle to Late Pleistocene environments based on stable organic carbon and nitrogen isotopes of loess-palaeosol sequences from the Carpathian Basin. – In: Boreas, Vol. 50(1), p: 184-204
|Authors||Pötter, Stephan and Schmitz, Arndt and Lücke, Andreas and Schulte, Philipp and Obreht, Igor and Zech, Michael and Wissel, Holger and Markovic, Slobodan B. and Lehmkuhl, Frank|
|Title||Middle to Late Pleistocene environments based on stable organic carbon and nitrogen isotopes of loess-palaeosol sequences from the Carpathian Basin|