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Erosion record in Lake La Thuile sediments (Prealps, France): Evidence of montane landscape dynamics throughout the Holocene

Abstract : Lake La Thuile, in the Northern French Prealps (874 m a.s.l.), provides an 18-m long sedimentary sequence spanning the entire Lateglacial/Holocene period. The high-resolution multi-proxy (sedimentological, palynological, and geochemical) analysis of the uppermost 6.2 m reveals the Holocene dynamics of erosion in the catchment in response to landscape modifications. The mountain belt is at relevant altitude to study past human activities, and the watershed is sufficiently disconnected from large valleys to capture a local sedimentary signal. From 12,000 to 10,000 cal. BP (10-8 kyr cal. BC), the onset of hardwood species triggered a drop in erosion following the Lateglacial/Holocene transition. From 10,000 to 4500 cal. BP (8-2.5 kyr cal. BC), the forest became denser and favored slope stabilization, while erosion processes were very weak. A first erosive phase was initiated at ca. 4500 cal. BP without evidence of human presence in the catchment. Then, the forest declined at approximately 3000 cal. BP, suggesting the first human influence on the landscape. Two other erosive phases are related to anthropic activities: approximately 2500 cal. BP (550 cal. BC) during the Roman period and after 1600 cal. BP (350 cal. AD) with a substantial accentuation in the Middle Ages. In contrast, the lower erosion produced during the `Little Ice Age', when climate deteriorations are generally considered to result in an increased erosion signal in this region, suggests that anthropic activities dominated the erosive processes and completely masked the natural effects of climate on erosion in the late Holocene.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01758971
Contributor : Catherine Beaussier Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 5:45:08 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 3:49:09 AM

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Manon Bajard, Pierre Sabatier, Fernand David, Anne-Lise Develle, Jean-Louis Reyss, et al.. Erosion record in Lake La Thuile sediments (Prealps, France): Evidence of montane landscape dynamics throughout the Holocene. The Holocene, London: Sage, 2016, 26 (3), pp.350-364. ⟨10.1177/0959683615609750⟩. ⟨hal-01758971⟩

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