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Impact of Holocene climate variability on lacustrine records and human settlements in South Greenland

Abstract : Due to its sensitivity to climate changes, south Greenland is a particularly suitable area to study past global climate changes and their influence on locale Human settlements. A paleohydrological investigation was therefore carried out on two river-fed lakes: Lake Qallimiut and Little Kangerluluup, both located close to the Labrador Sea in the historic 5 farming center of Greenland. Two sediment cores (QAL-2011 and LKG-2011), spanning the last four millennia, were retrieved and showed similar thin laminae, described by high magnetic susceptibility and density, high titanium and TOC / TN atomic ratio, and coarse grain size. They are also characterized either by inverse grading followed by normal grading or by normal grading only and a prevalence of red amorphous particles 10 and lignocellulosic fragments, typical of flood deposits. Flood events showed similar trend in both records: they mainly occurred during cooler and wetter periods characterized by weaker Greenlandic paleo-temperatures, substantial glacier advances, and a high precipitation on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet and North Atlantic ice-rafting events. They can therefore be interpreted as a result of ice and 15 snow-melting episodes. They occurred especially during rapid climate changes (RCC) such as the Middle to Late Holocene transition around 2250 BC, the Sub-boreal/Sub-atlantic transition around 700 BC and the Little Ice Age (LIA) between AD 1300 and AD 1900, separated by cycles of 1500 years and driven by solar forcing. These global RCC revealed by QAL-2011 and LKG-2011 flood events may have influenced Human 20 settlements in south Greenland, especially the paleo-Eskimo cultures and the Norse settlement, and have been mainly responsible for their demise.
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Typhaine Guillemot, V Bichet, Anaëlle Simonneau, D Rius, C Massa, et al.. Impact of Holocene climate variability on lacustrine records and human settlements in South Greenland. Climate of the Past Discussions, European Geosciences Union (EGU), 2015, 11, pp.5401-5438. ⟨10.5194/cpd-11-5401-2015⟩. ⟨insu-01240347⟩

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