Paleoenvironmental dynamics in central-eastern Brazil during the last 23 000 years: tropical peatland record in the Cerrado biome

The Cerrado biome is the second largest in Brazil, but the evolution of the Cerrado during the late Quaternary is not yet fully known. This study identifies paleoenvironmental changes during the last 23 000 years, based on a tropical mountain peatland record, in the Serra do Espinhaço Meridional in central-eastern Brazil. A multi-proxy approach was used that involved palynological analysis, stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N), geochemistry, radiocarbon dating and multivariate statistics derived from a peatland core from Rio Preto (Minas Gerais state). The study reveals a very humid and cold climate during the late Pleistocene, with an increase in temperature and decrease in humidity at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. During this period there was strong instability in the landscape (episodes of erosion). At the beginning of the Holocene there was a reduction in humidity with greater landscape stability. The current sub-humid climatic conditions seem to have been established in the mid-/late Holocene, with periods of landscape instability. Our findings agree with other Cerrado records that contradict previously established hypotheses, such as the Amazonian Refuge and the Pleistocene Arc.
  • Authors: Costa, C.R., Pinto da Luz, C.F., Horák-Terra, I., de Camargo, P.B., Barral, U.M., Mendonça-Filho, C.V., Gonçalves, T.S., Silva, A.C.
  • Author Affiliation: Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Instituto de Pesquisas Ambientais, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura Brasil, University of Brasilia
  • Subjects: peatlands, mountain areas, tropics, paleoenvironment, paleoclimatology
  • Publication type: Journal Article, ISI
  • Source: Journal of Quarternary Science
  • Year: 2022
  • DOI:
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