Holocene climatic fluctuations and positioning of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies in Tierra del Fuego (54° S), Patagonia

Nicolas Waldmann, Daniel Ariztegui, Flavio S. Anselmetti, James A. Austin, Christopher M. Moy, Charles Stern, Cristina Recasens, Robert B. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Recent advances in the chronology and the palaeoclimatic understanding of Antarctic ice core records point towards a larger heterogeneity of latitudinal climate fluctuations than previously thought. Thus, realistic palaeoclimate reconstructions rely in the development of a tight array of well-constrained records with a dense latitudinal coverage. Climatic records from southernmost South America are critical cornerstones to link these Antarctic palaeoclimatic archives with their South American counterparts. At 54° S on the Island of Tierra del Fuego, Lago Fagnano is located in one of the most substantially and extensively glaciated regions of southernmost South America during the Late Pleistocene. This elongated lake is the largest (~110 km long) and non-ice covered lake at high southern latitudes. A multi-proxy study of selected cores allows the characterisation of a Holocene sedimentary record. Detailed petrophysical, sedimentological and geochemical studies of a complete lacustrine laminated sequence reveal variations in major and trace elements, as well as organic content, suggesting high variability in environmental conditions. Comparison of these results with other regional records allows the identification of major known late Holocene climatic intervals and the proposal for a time for the onset of the Southern Westerlies in Tierra del Fuego. These results improve our understanding of the forcing mechanisms behind climate change in southernmost Patagonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1075
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • High-latitude palaeoclimate
  • Lacustrine basins
  • Little Ice Age
  • Mid Holocene optimum
  • Orbital forcing
  • Tephrochronology


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