A sediment core 7.2 m long from Lake Mirabad, Iran, was examined for loss-on-ignition, mineralogy, oxygen-isotopic composition of authigenic calcite, and trace-element composition of ostracodes to complement earlier pollen and ostracode-assemblage studies. Pollen, ostracode-inferred lake level, and high Sr/Ca ratios indicate that the early Holocene (10000 to 6500 cal yr BP) was drier than the late Holocene. Low δ18O values during this interval are interpreted as resulting from winter-dominated precipitation, characteristic of a Mediterranean climate. Increasing δ18O values after 6500 cal yr BP signal a gradual increase in spring rains, which are present today. A severe 600-yr drought occurred at ca. 5500 cal yr BP, shortly after the transition from pistachio-almond to oak forest. During the late Holocene, two milder droughts occurred at about 1500 and 500 cal yr BP. Within the resolution of the record, no drought is evident during the collapse of the Akkadian empire (4200-3900 cal yr BP). Rather, a decrease in δ18O values to early-Holocene levels may indicate the return to a Mediterranean precipitation regime.
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- Near East