Climate signals in sediment mineralogy of Lake Baikal and Lake Hovsgol during the LGM-Holocene transition and the 1-Ma carbonate record from the HDP-04 drill core

Emilia P. Solotchina, Alexander A. Prokopenko, Mikhail I. Kuzmin, Pavel A. Solotchin, Anastasia N. Zhdanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Modeling the bulk sediment XRD patterns allows insight into the environmental and depositional histories of two neighboring rift lake basins within the Baikal watershed. Parallel 14C-dated LGM-Holocene records in Lakes Baikal and Hovsgol are used to discuss the mineralogical signatures of regional climate change. In both basins, it is possible to distinguish 'glacial' and 'interglacial' mineral associations. Clay minerals comprise in excess of 50% of layered silicates in bulk sediment. The abundance of smectite (expandable) layers in mixed-layer illite-smectites and the total illite abundance are the main paleoclimatic indices in the clay mineral assemblage. Both indices exhibit coherent responses to the Bølling-Allerød and the Younger Dryas. The smectite layer index is not equivalent to the abundance of illite-smectite, because illite-smectite tends to transform into illite. Repeated wetting-drying cycles in soils and high abundance of expandable layers in illite-smectites (>42%) favor the process of illitization. This relationship is clearly shown in both Baikal and Hovsgol records for the first time. The opposite late Holocene trends in illite abundance in Lake Baikal and Lake Hovsgol records suggest that a sensitive optimal regime may exist for illite formation in the Baikal watershed with regard to warmth and effective moisture. The Lake Hovsgol sediments of the last glacial contain carbonates, suggesting a positive trend in the lake's water budget. A progressive change towards lower Mg content in carbonates indicates lowering mineralization of lake waters. This trend is consistent with the lithologic evidence for lake-level rise in the Hovsgol basin. The pattern of mineralogical changes during the past 20 ka is used to interpret bulk sediment and carbonate mineralogy of the long 81-m Lake Hovsgol drill core (HDP-04) with a basal age of 1 Ma. The interglacial-type silicate mineral associations are confined to several thin intervals; most of the sediment record is calcareous. Carbonates are represented by six main mineral phases: calcite, low-Mg calcite, intermediate/high-Mg calcite, dolomite, excess-Ca dolomite and metastable monohydrocalcite. These mineral phases tend to form stratigraphic successions indicative of progressive changes in lake water chemistry. Five sediment layers with abundant Mg-calcites in the HDP-04 section suggest deposition in a low standing lake with high mineralization (salinity) and high Mg/Ca ratios of lake waters. Lake Hovsgol sediments contain the oldest known monohydrocalcite, found tens of meters below lake bottom in sediments as old as 800 ka. This unusual find is likely due to the conditions favorable to preservation of this metastable carbonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary International
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (projects 05-05-64681, 08-05-00680) and by the US National Science Foundation (grant ATM-0402351). We express our gratitude to the large and diverse international team of participants of the Hovsgol Drilling Project. We thank the participants of the KDP-01 drilling for the subset of samples from the drill core. The manuscript has benefited from discussions with K. Fukushi, A. Sakaguchi, and Y. Tani.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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