Late Holocene hydrology of Lake Maharlou, southwest Iran, inferred from high-resolution sedimentological and geochemical analyses

Abstract : Sedimentological (dry density, micro-fa-cies analysis on thin-slides, X-ray diffraction, layer counting) and elemental analyses (X-ray fluorescence) of a 3.5-m-long sediment core (MAH-B) from saline Lake Maharlou (SW Iran) were used to infer hydrological changes over the last * 3800 years. The sediment consists of thin, alternating beds of evapor-ites (halite, gypsum), carbonates (calcite, aragonite) and detrital minerals (quartz, muscovite, chlorite). We interpret the data with respect to three main hydrologic conditions: (1) nearly complete desiccation of the lake, marked by frequent halite layers, (2) hypersaline conditions marked by gypsum abundance, (3) wet conditions, characterized by high river-borne terrige-nous sediment input with high potassium content. Distinct flood layers indicate fluvial activity. From about 3800-2000 cal year BP, terrigenous sediment supply was high, with peaks at 3700-3650, 3500-3450, and 3400-3250 cal year BP. Evaporative conditions were not common. From ca. 2000 cal year BP to present, detrital minerals are less abundant, and the increase in gypsum abundance suggests drier climate with enhanced evaporation. Frequent desiccation events occurred from 1100 to 700 cal year BP. The late Holocene hydrology of Lake Maharlou corresponds well with records of dune formation and phases of river alluviation in Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, and with regional speleothem records. In addition to the influence of climate change on the lake hydrology, ancient humans modified water drainage in the catchment. Periods of subterranean tunnel (qanats) use correspond to dramatic shrinkage of the water body. We propose that climate changes drove long-term water shortages that were enhanced by anthro-pogenic activities, leading to more frequent desiccation of the lake during the last millennium.
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Elodie Brisset, Morteza Djamali, Edouard Bard, Daniel Borschneck, Emmanuel Gandouin, et al.. Late Holocene hydrology of Lake Maharlou, southwest Iran, inferred from high-resolution sedimentological and geochemical analyses. Journal of Paleolimnology, Springer Verlag, 2018, ⟨10.1007/s10933-018-0048-6⟩. ⟨hal-01885984⟩

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