• Late quaternary fluvial system response to climatic change over the past 200ka on Mallorca, Illes Balears.

      Thompson, Warren; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-11-02)
      Outcrops of late Quaternary deposits along the north–east coast of Mallorca were examined, and a high resolution chronological framework established using optically stimulated luminescence of quartz and feldspar grains. Coastal sections at Es Barrancar and Cala Mata record a complex succession of alluvial fan deposition with a minor aeolian component, mainly deposited during the last two glacial cycles. For the last ~200ka different orbital configurations appear to have produced a series of subtly different climatic scenarios that resulted in great variations in the regional availability of moisture. In turn, each of these climatic scenarios set in motion a distinct set of sedimentary processes, which imprinted themselves upon the character of fluvial system response recorded in the alluvial archives on Mallorca. Within the resulting complex of sediments were units of fluvially reworked aeolianite which, although truncated in places, were traceable laterally along wide sections of the sea front outcrops of both fan systems. These archives yielded 47 new OSL and pIRIR290 ages which suggest a number of previously unrecognised periods of enhanced fluvial activity. Luminescence ages identify significant ephemeral fluvial activity taking place during MIS 6, MIS 5 sub-stages d/c, b/a, and across the MIS 5/4 boundary. Another major phase of reworking corresponds with the middle part of MIS 3, and continued sporadically into the Last Glacial Maximum. These fluvial reworking events have been interpreted as having taken place during cold arid climatic intervals, when vegetation was at a minimum, precipitation was low and displayed a much higher degree of seasonality, enhancing the effects of runoff.