Continuous lacustrine deposits of the Funza-II core from the Bogotá basin, Colombia (5°N74°W) record late Pleistocene climatic variations, providing an opportunity to assess the influence of glacial–interglacial climate changes on alpine ecosystems in equatorial South America. Biogeochemical response of this tropical alpine system to climate change was inferred from changes in elemental concentrations and ratios and isotopic signatures in the upper 120 m of the lacustrine Funza core.
Values of δ13Corg exhibit eight abrupt, positive shifts that are thought to reflect rapid expansions of C4 grasses in the tropical Andes and algal blooms. One of these excursions, interpreted to correspond to C4 vegetation expansion, occurred in sediments accumulated during the last glaciation (∼30,000–50,000 yr B.P.) and implies a downslope shift of the upper Andean treeline, regardless of prevailing temperatures.
Sedimentary carbon/sulfur ratios are low and indicate significant sequestering of sulfur. Monosulfides are the dominant constituent of sedimentary sulfur during relatively humid intervals, when increased supply of iron caused by enhanced weathering favored the formation of monosulfide minerals under strongly reducing conditions. In contrast, organosulfur compounds dominate the sedimentary sulfur-species in relatively drier intervals when mildly reducing conditions and limited iron input promoted the diagenetic incorporation of sulfur in organic matter. Dry events inferred from the sulfur record typically correlate with glacial maxima, whereas glacial terminations are usually associated with wet periods.