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    High-resolution palynological evidence for vegetation response to the Laacher See eruption from the varved record of Meerfelder Maar (Germany) and other central European records

    Engels, Stefan and van Geel, B. and Buddelmeijer, N. and Brauer, A. (2015) High-resolution palynological evidence for vegetation response to the Laacher See eruption from the varved record of Meerfelder Maar (Germany) and other central European records. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 221 , pp. 160-170. ISSN 0034-6667.

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    Abstract

    The Laacher See eruption (LSE) was one of the larger Plinian eruptions of the late Quaternary in Europe. Distal tephra deposits of the LSE are found in three major directions and have been encountered over an area of at least 230,000 km2. Large volcanic explosions such as the LSE can have direct as well as indirect effects on vegetation and climate. Previous studies suggest that the effects of the LSE probably were of short duration only, in the order of several decades at the longest. The varved sediment record of Meerfelder Maar provides an excellent natural archive to study the impact of the LSE on the vegetation. Using a sub-decadal sampling resolution, we are able to reconstruct an abrupt decrease in the abundance of pine pollen to only 5% in the last ~5 years prior to the LST. A concurrent increase in charcoal strongly suggests that the disappearance of pine is related to fire-activity before the eruption. All taxa show decreased pollen productivity directly following the LSE, although most taxa recover within 1–2 decades. Pinus takes the longest to recover to high values after the LSE. Mechanisms that could explain this longer-lasting minimum include short-scale climate changes such as an increase in precipitation or a decrease in temperature, soil acidification, and an increase in wildfires. Variance partitioning shows that the pollen data (both percentage and PAR) show a statistically significant response to the LSE. A review of other high-resolution palynological records shows that sites that are situated relatively close (101–102 km) to the Laacher See show a distinct change in the pollen diagrams, commonly mainly a decrease in Pinus, just above the LST, while sites that are located further away only show minor fluctuations or no change at all. The MFM record is the only dataset that shows a decrease in the abundance of pine pollen prior to the LST.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Stefan Engels
    Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2021 14:43
    Last Modified: 14 Jan 2021 14:43
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/41772

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