Revealing the last 13,500 years of environmental history from the multiproxy record of a mountain lake (Lago Enol, northern Iberian Peninsula)

Ana Moreno, Lourdes López-Merino, Manel Leira, Javier Marco-Barba, Penélope González-Sampériz, Blas L. Valero-Garcés, José Antonio López-Sáez, Luisa Santos, Pilar Mata, Emi Ito

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95 Scopus citations


We present the Holocene sequence from Lago Enol (43°16′N, 4°59′W, 1,070 m a. s. l.), Cantabrian Mountains, northern Spain. A multiproxy analysis provided comprehensive information about regional humidity and temperature changes. The analysis included sedimentological descriptions, physical properties, organic carbon and carbonate content, mineralogy and geochemical composition together with biological proxies including diatom and ostracod assemblages. A detailed pollen study enabled reconstruction of variations in vegetation cover, which were interpreted in the context of climate changes and human impact. Four distinct stages were recognized for the last 13,500 years: (1) a cold and dry episode that includes the Younger Dryas event (13,500-11,600 cal. year BP); (2) a humid and warmer period characterizing the onset of the Holocene (11,600-8,700 cal. year BP); (3) a tendency toward a drier climate during the middle Holocene (8,700-4,650 cal. year BP); and (4) a return to humid conditions following landscape modification by human activity (pastoral activities, deforestation) in the late Holocene (4,650-2,200 cal. year BP). Superimposed on relatively stable landscape conditions (e. g. maintenance of well established forests), the typical environmental variability of the southern European region is observed at this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-349
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was funded through the projects LIMNOCLIBER (REN2003-09130-C02-02), IBERLIMNO (CGL2005-20236-E/CLI), LIMNOCAL (CGL 2006-13327-C04-01) and GRACCIE (CSD2007-00067), provided by the Spanish Inter-Ministry Commission of Science and Technology (CICYT). Additional funding was provided by the Spanish National Parks agency through the project ‘‘Evolución climática y ambiental del Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa desde el último máximo glaciar—ref: 53/2006’’. A. Moreno acknowledges funding from the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Program (Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowships, proposal 021673-IBERABRUPT) and from the Spanish Ministry of Science (‘‘Ramón y Cajal’’ program). L. López-Merino was supported by a CSIC-ESF (European Social Fund) research contract (I3P pre-doctoral program). We are indebted to Anders Noren, Doug Schnurrenberger and Mark Shapley (LRC-University of Minnesota) for the 2004 coring campaign, Vania Stefanova and Mario Morellón for their help in construction of the age model, Francesc Mezquita for his help in ostracod identification, María José Domínguez-Cuesta for the location figure, and EEAD-CSIC and IPE-CSIC laboratory staff for their collaboration in this research. The director and staff of the Picos de Europa National Park are also acknowledged for their help in sampling.


  • Diatoms
  • Holocene
  • Lake sediments
  • Northern Iberian Peninsula
  • Ostracods
  • Pollen
  • Scanning XRF


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