Overview and significance of a 250 ka paleoclimate record from El'gygytgyn Crater Lake, NE Russia

Julie Brigham-Grette, Martin Melles, Pavel Minyuk

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62 Scopus citations


Sediment piston cores from Lake El'gygytgyn (67°N, 172°E), a 3.6 million year old meteorite impact crater in northeastern Siberia, have been analyzed to extract a multi-proxy millennial-scale climate record extending to nearly 250 ka, with distinct fluctuations in sedimentological, physical, biochemical, and paleoecological parameters. Five major themes emerge from this research. First the pilot cores and seismic data show that El'gygytygn Crater Lake contains what is expected to be the longest, most continuous terrestrial record of past climate change in the entire Arctic back to the time of impact. Second, processes operating in the El'gygytygn basin lead to changes in the limnogeology and the biogeochemistry that reflect robust changes in the regional climate and paleoecology over a large part of the western Arctic. Third, the magnetic susceptibility and other proxies record numerous rapid change events. The recovered lake sediment contains both the best-resolved record of the last interglacial and the longest terrestrial record of millennial scale climate change in the Arctic, yielding a high fidelity multi-proxy record extending nearly 150,000 years beyond what has been obtained from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Fourth, the potential for evaluating teleconnections under different mean climate states is high. Despite the heterogeneous nature of recent Arctic climate change, millennial scale climate events in the North Atlantic/Greenland region are recorded in the most distal regions of the Arctic under variable boundary conditions. Finally, deep drilling of the complete depositional record in Lake El'gygytgyn will offer new insights and, perhaps, surprises into the late Cenozoic evolution of Arctic climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, Atmospheric Sciences and Earth Sciences Divisions for their support of this research. We also thank the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Roshydromet and the Airport in Pevek, Chukotka. All opinions and findings presented in the paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Science Foundation or other funding agencies.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Arctic
  • Beringia
  • Chukotka
  • El'gygytgyn
  • Paleoclimate
  • Paleolimnology

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