A high-resolution mid-Pleistocene temperature record from Arctic Lake El'gygytgyn: A 50 kyr super interglacial from MIS 33 to MIS 31?

Gregory A. de Wet, Isla S. Castañeda, Robert M. DeConto, Julie Brigham-Grette

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12 Scopus citations


Previous periods of extreme warmth in Earth's history are of great interest in light of current and predicted anthropogenic warming. Numerous so called "super interglacial" intervals, with summer temperatures significantly warmer than today, have been identified in the 3.6 million year (Ma) sediment record from Lake El'gygytgyn, northeast Russia. To date, however, a high-resolution paleotemperature reconstruction from any of these super interglacials is lacking. Here we present a paleotemperature reconstruction based on branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) from Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 35 to MIS 29, including super interglacial MIS 31. To investigate this period in detail, samples were analyzed with an unprecedented average sample resolution of 500 yrs from MIS 33 to MIS 30. Our results suggest the entire period currently defined as MIS 33-31 (~1114-1062 kyr BP) was characterized by generally warm and highly variable conditions at the lake, at times out of phase with Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, and that cold "glacial" conditions during MIS 32 lasted only a few thousand years. Close similarities are seen with coeval records from high southern latitudes, supporting the suggestion that the interval from MIS 33 to MIS 31 was an exceptionally long interglacial (Teitler et al., 2015). Based on brGDGT temperatures from Lake El'gygytgyn (this study and unpublished results), warming in the western Arctic during MIS 31 was matched only by MIS 11 during the Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Feb 15 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Jeff Salacup, Ben Keisling, and Helen Habicht for meaningful discussions and Jeff for his assistance in the laboratory. Juliane Bischoff is acknowledged for sharing insights on unpublished data. We thank two anonymous reviewers whose meaningful comments and suggestions improved the manuscript. Data associated with this study will be made available on the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information website. Drilling operations at Lake El'gygytgyn were funded by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) , the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) , Alfred Wegener Institute ( AWI ) and GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) , the Russian Academy of Sciences Far East Branch (RAS FEB) , the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF) . Primary funding for this research was provided by NSF grant # 1204087 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Arctic
  • Branched GDGT
  • Marine isotope stage 31
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Super interglacial

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