The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon-Dated Paleoenvironmental Changes on a Lake and Peat Sediment Sequence from the Central Great Hungarian Plain (Central Europe) During the Last 25,000 Years

Pal Sumegi, Mihaly Molnar, Gusztav Jakab, Gergo Persaits, Peter Majkut, David G Pall, Sandor Gulyas, A Timothy Jull, Tunde Torcsik


One of Hungary?s geological and environmental treasures is nestled in the heart of the Great Hungarian Plain. The catchment basin of Lake Kolon was subjected to detailed environmental historical studies starting in 2005. Undisturbed cores taken along transects of the basin were subjected to detailed sedimentological, paleoecological, and geochemical studies. To establish a reliable timeframe of the lacustrine and marshland sedimentary sequence identified, 22 samples were analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) in the radiocarbon laboratories of Poznań and Tucson. With the new results in hand, we had the opportunity to elucidate the geological evolution of the area for the past 25,000 yr. This sequence is highly beneficial, as it is probably the most well-dated profile of the Quaternary from the area studied. The new absolute dates enabled the comparison of local geological evolution of the studied area with those of global climatic changes. As seen from our findings, the geological evolution of the catchment basin was congruent with major climatic events during the Pleistocene and the entire Holocene. However, a very peculiar trajectory was identified for the terminal part of the Pleistocene and the opening of the Holocene regarding the evolution of the landscape, the vegetation, and the fauna of this part of the Great Hungarian Plain.

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