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Rhone River flood deposits in Lake Le Bourget: a proxy for Holocene environmental changes in the NW Alps, France

Abstract : The Holocene evolution of Rhone River clastic sediment supply in Lake Le Bourget is documented by sub-bottom seismic profiling and multidisciplinary analysis of well-dated sediment cores. Six high-amplitude reflectors within the lacustrine drape can be correlated to periods of enhanced inter- and underflow deposition in sediment cores. Based on the synthesis of major environmental changes in the NW Alps and on the age-depth model covering the past 7500 years in Lake Le Bourget, periods of enhanced Rhone River flood events in the lake can be related to abrupt climate changes and/or to increasing land use since c. 2700 cal. yr BP. For example, significant land use under rather stable climate conditions during the Roman Empire may be responsible for large flood deposits in the northern part of Lake Le Bourget between AD 966 and 1093. However, during the Little Ice Age (LIA), well-documented major environmental changes in the catchment area essentially resulted from climate change and formed basin-wide major flood deposits in Lake Le Bourget. Up to five ‘LIA-like' Holocene cold periods developing enhanced Rhone River flooding activity in Lake Le Bourget are documented at c. 7200, 5200, 2800, 1600 and 200 cal. yr BP. These abrupt climate changes were associated in the NW Alps with Mont Blanc glacier advances, enhanced glaciofluvial regimes and high lake levels. Correlations with European lake level fluctuations and winter precipitation regimes inferred from glacier fluctuations in western Norway suggest that these five Holocene cooling events at 45°N were associated with enhanced westerlies, possibly resulting from a persistent negative mode of the North Atlantic Oscillation.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00111678
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Submitted on : Monday, November 6, 2006 - 10:27:35 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:47:39 AM

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Emmanuel Chapron, Fabien Arnaud, Hervé Noël, Marie Revel, Marc Desmet, et al.. Rhone River flood deposits in Lake Le Bourget: a proxy for Holocene environmental changes in the NW Alps, France. Boreas, Wiley, 2005, 34, pp.4, 404-416. ⟨10.1080/03009480500231260⟩. ⟨hal-00111678⟩

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