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Reevaluation of Late Pleistocene loess profiles at Remizovka (Kazakhstan) indicates the significance of topography in evaluating terrestrial paleoclimate records

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2018

Tobias Sprafke*
Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons
Research Group for Terrestrial Palaeoclimates, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany
Christoph Grützner
COMET, Bullard Laboratories, Cambridge University, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0EZ, United Kingdom Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Geological Sciences, Burgweg 11, Jena, Germany
Austin Elliot
COMET, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3AN, United Kingdom
Laurent Marquer
Research Group for Terrestrial Palaeoclimates, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany Laboratoire Géographie de l’environnement, Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès, GEODE UMR 5602, Toulouse, France
Saida Nigmatova
Institute of Geological Sciences K. Satpaeva, Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, 69A Kabanbay Batyra St. #279, 050010 Almaty, Kazakhstan
*Corresponding author at: Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. E-mail address: (T. Sprafke).


We report on a loess-paleosol sequence (LPS) near Remizovka, located in the northern Tian Shan piedmont of southeastern Kazakhstan. This site represents a key record for Late Pleistocene climatic fluctuations at the intersection of major northern hemisphere climate subsystems. This paper develops a synthesized dataset of previous conflicting studies at Remizovka by characterizing their (paleo)topographic context, which had remained previously overlooked. Digital elevation models, satellite images, and archival photography characterize recent topographic developments. Two well-developed pedocomplexes, which we investigate in detail and date by luminescence mark the paleotopography during Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5. Peak dust accumulation rates here occurred during the middle MIS 5 and MIS 4/early MIS 3. These are partially comparable with records from neighboring regions, but not in phase with global ice volume records. This discrepancy may be related to a distinct regional environmental response to larger-scale climatic drivers and local topographic influences on dust deposition patterns. Our findings confirm the potential of the LPS Remizovka to provide high-resolution paleoclimate data for the Late Pleistocene. The three-dimensional stratigraphic reconstruction reinforces the caution required to correctly interpret loess formation processes prior to their interpretation as paleoclimate archives, and provides guidelines for a more suitable approach.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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