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The Iberian–Roman Humid Period (2600–1600 cal yr BP) in the Zoñar Lake varve record (Andalucía, southern Spain)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Celia Martín-Puertas*
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra-CASEM, University of Cádiz. Avd. Saharaui s/n Puerto Real E-11510 Cádiz, Spain
Blas L. Valero-Garcés
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología-CSIC, Apdo 202, E-50080 Zaragoza, Spain
Achim Brauer
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Section 3.3, Climate Dynamics and Sediments, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
M. Pilar Mata
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra-CASEM, University of Cádiz. Avd. Saharaui s/n Puerto Real E-11510 Cádiz, Spain
Antonio Delgado-Huertas
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y Química Ambiental, Estación Experimental del Zaidín-CSIC, E-18008 Granada, Spain
Peter Dulski
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Section 3.3, Climate Dynamics and Sediments, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Corresponding author. Fax: +34 956016195. E-mail address:


The Iberian–Roman Humid Period (IRHP, 2600–1600 cal yr BP), is the most humid phase of the last 4000 yr in southern Spain as recorded in the sedimentary sequence of Zoñar Lake (37°29′00″N, 4°41′22″ W, 300 m a.s.l.). A varve chronology supported by several AMS 14C dates allows study of the lake evolution at annual scale in response to human impact and climate changes. There are four climate phases within this period: i) gradual transition (2600–2500 yr ago, 650–550 BC) from a previous arid period; ii) the most humid interval during the Iberian–Early Roman Epoch (2500–2140 yr ago, 550–190 BC); iii) an arid interval during the Roman Empire Epoch (2140–1800 yr ago, 190 BC AD 150); and iv) a humid period synchronous with the decline of the Roman Empire (1800–1600 yr ago, AD 150–350). Varve thickness and geochemical proxies show a multi-decadal cyclicity similar to modern North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (60, 20 years) and solar variability cycles (11 yr). The timing and the structure of this humid period is similar to that described in Eastern Mediterranean and northern European sites and supports the same large-scale climate control for northern latitudes and the Mediterranean region.

University of Washington

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The Iberian–Roman Humid Period (2600–1600 cal yr BP) in the Zoñar Lake varve record (Andalucía, southern Spain)
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