Quaternary volcano-lacustrine patterns and palaeobotanical data in southern Armenia

Abstract : The morphogenetic evolution of the Lesser Caucasus has been strongly influenced by Plio-Quaternary volcanic and tectonic events and Pleistocene glaciations. Fluvio-lacustrine environments, indicated by diatomaceous deposits, prevailed in the Syunik region of southern Armenia during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. The Pleistocene diatomaceous deposits studied contain leaf impressions and pollen, allowing local palaeoclimatic reconstructions. The chronology of morphogenetic events has been determined by 17 radiometric dates (K/Ar, Ar/Ar, U/Th), palaeomagnetic investigations and is placed in a spatial context by a detailed geomorphological map and a 24-km geological transect of the Vorotan valley, the main area studied. Before 1.21 Ma, tectonic movements (antecedents of the lower part of the Vorotan valley) generated extensive lake formations with diatomaceous deposits. From 993 ka, volcanic eruptions produced lava flows that covered the fluvio-lacustrine accumulations. During Marine Isotopic Stages 12, 6 and 4, glaciers and fluvio-glacial deposits were probably present overall the principal uplands and valleys of southern Armenia. At 53.68 ka (MIS 3), 12.6 ka, 10.78 ka and 4.14 ka (MIS 1), the development of travertines on some slopes and in some valleys highlights temperate and humid climatic phases. Palaeobotanical studies of leaf and pollen floras show that the vegetation changed several times from forested to steppic phases in response to the climate oscillations of the Lower Pleistocene. This work proposes a first morphogenic and palaeoclimatic reconstruction from the lower Pleistocene to the Postglacial period, when the first settlements of the population in the Lesser Caucasus were influenced by tectono-volcanic events, lake level changes and glacialeinterglacial oscillations forced by the obliquity orbital parameter (41 ky cycles).
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Submitted on : Friday, May 7, 2010 - 3:46:45 PM
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Vincent Ollivier, Samuel Nahapetyan, Paul Roiron, Ivan Gabrielyan, Boris Gasparyan, et al.. Quaternary volcano-lacustrine patterns and palaeobotanical data in southern Armenia. Quaternary International, Elsevier, 2010, 223-224, pp.312-326. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2010.02.008⟩. ⟨hal-00481939⟩

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