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Quaternary, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2022) – 7 articles

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Article
Late Pleistocene Geomorphic Evolution of Cephalonia Island, Western Greece, Inferred from Uplifted Marine Terraces
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030035 - 06 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Combined with eustatic sea-level changes, uplifted Quaternary marine terraces provide insight into the tectonics of coastal areas. Cephalonia Island lies 35 km off the western coast of mainland Greece and 15 km northeast of the Hellenic subduction zone. Late Pleistocene eustatic sea-level oscillations [...] Read more.
Combined with eustatic sea-level changes, uplifted Quaternary marine terraces provide insight into the tectonics of coastal areas. Cephalonia Island lies 35 km off the western coast of mainland Greece and 15 km northeast of the Hellenic subduction zone. Late Pleistocene eustatic sea-level oscillations and the long-term tectonic movements are imprinted on the landscape of the southern part of the island, in the form of seven uplifted marine terraces. In the present study we aim to identify and map in detail these terraces, applying Digital Elevation Model analysis, utilizing Geographic Information Systems techniques and extensive fieldwork. The GIS-based analysis combined with field geomorphological observations revealed a sequence of seven marine terraces at the southern part of the main island ranging in elevation between 4 m and 176 m asl. Microscope, petrological and microgeomorphological analyses on two caprock samples suggest strong marine influence during the deposition of the sediments covering the marine terraces. The age of the formation of the 32 m marine terrace was assigned to the MIS 3e, based on OSL dating of a caprock sample, and an average uplift rate of 1.4 ± 0.35 mm a−1 was calculated for the last 61 ± 5.5 ka. Assuming a uniform uplift rate for the Late Pleistocene allowed us to correlate the marine terrace with the sea-level highstands and constrain their ages. Full article
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Review
A Review of Event Deposits in Lake Sediments
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030034 - 03 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Event deposits in lake sediments provide invaluable chronicles of geodynamic and climatic natural hazards on multi-millennial timescales. Sediment archives are particularly useful for reconstructing high-impact, low-frequency events, which are rarely observed in instrumental or historical data. However, attributing a trigger mechanism to event [...] Read more.
Event deposits in lake sediments provide invaluable chronicles of geodynamic and climatic natural hazards on multi-millennial timescales. Sediment archives are particularly useful for reconstructing high-impact, low-frequency events, which are rarely observed in instrumental or historical data. However, attributing a trigger mechanism to event deposits observed in lake sediments can be particularly challenging as different types of events can produce deposits with very similar lithological characteristics, such as turbidites. In this review paper, we summarize the state of the art on event deposits in paleolimnology. We start by describing the sedimentary facies typical of floods, glacial lake outburst floods, avalanches, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and spontaneous delta collapses. We then describe the most indicative methods that can be applied at the scale of lake basins (geophysical survey, multiple coring) and on sediment cores (sedimentology, inorganic and organic geochemistry, biotic approach). Finally, we provide recommendations on how to obtain accurate chronologies on sediment cores containing event deposits, and ultimately date the events. Accurately identifying and dating event deposits has the potential to improve hazard assessments, particularly in terms of the return periods, recurrence patterns, and maximum magnitudes, which is one of the main geological challenges for sustainable worldwide development. Full article
Article
Disasters and Society: Comparing the Shang and Mycenaean Response to Natural Phenomena through Text and Archaeology
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030033 - 25 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Disasters do and have happened throughout human existence. Their traces are found in the environmental record, archaeological evidence, and historical chronicles. Societal responses to these events vary and depend on ecological and cultural constraints and opportunities. These elements are being discovered more and [...] Read more.
Disasters do and have happened throughout human existence. Their traces are found in the environmental record, archaeological evidence, and historical chronicles. Societal responses to these events vary and depend on ecological and cultural constraints and opportunities. These elements are being discovered more and more on a global scale. When looking at disasters in antiquity, restoring the environmental and geographical context on both the macro- and microscale is necessary. The relationships between global climatic processes and microgeographical approaches ought to be understood by examining detailed societal strategies conceived in response to threatening natural phenomena. Architectural designs, human geography, political geography, technological artefacts, and textual testimony are linked to a society’s inherited and real sense of natural threats, such as floods, earthquakes, fires, diseases, etc. The Shang and Mycenaean cultures are prime examples, among others, of Bronze Age societies with distinctive geographical, environmental, and cultural features and structures that defined their attitudes and responses to dangerous natural phenomena, such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, and drought. By leaning on two well-documented societies with little to no apparent similarities in environmental and cultural aspects and no credible evidence of contact, diffusion, or exchange, we can examine them free of the onus of diffused intangible and tangible cultural features. Even though some evidence of long-distance networks in the Bronze Age exists, they presumable had no impact on local adaptive strategies. The Aegean Sea and Yellow River cultural landscapes share many similarities and dissimilarities and vast territorial and cultural expansions. They have an apparent contemporaneity, and both recede and collapse at about the same time. Thus, through the microgeography of a few select Shang and Mycenaean sites and their relevant environmental, archaeological, and historical contexts, and through environmental effects on a global scale, we may understand chain events of scattered human societal changes, collapses, and revolutions on a structural level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Geoarchaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Review
When the Land Sings: Reconstructing Prehistoric Environments Using Evidence from Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology, with Examples Drawn from Fluvial Environments in the Nile and Son Valleys
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030032 - 18 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Geomorphic evidence from rivers and lakes can help explain past changes in the locations of archaeological sites as well as environmental and climatic changes in their catchment areas. Examples drawn from the Blue and White Nile valleys in northeast Africa and from the [...] Read more.
Geomorphic evidence from rivers and lakes can help explain past changes in the locations of archaeological sites as well as environmental and climatic changes in their catchment areas. Examples drawn from the Blue and White Nile valleys in northeast Africa and from the Son and Belan valleys in north-central India reveal how Quaternary climatic fluctuations in the headwaters of these rivers are reflected in changes in river channel patterns downstream as well as in the type of sediment transported. Soils and sediments that contain prehistoric and historic artefacts can be analysed to show the type of environment in which the artefacts accumulated. Beds of volcanic ash may preserve former landscapes and their fossil remains and can provide a synchronous time marker against which to assess changes in the archaeological record. The pattern and tempo of past sea level fluctuations has controlled the distribution of coastal archaeological sites and helps to explain the absence of certain Holocene Neolithic sites in southeast Asia. Disturbance of archaeological sites by plants and animals, especially termites in tropical regions, can affect the stratigraphic and chronological integrity of the site. Full article
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Article
Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Birds of Northern Vietnam (Caves Dieu and Maxa I, Thanh Hoa Province)—Paleornithological Results of the Joint Bulgarian-Vietnamese Archaeological Expeditions, 1985–1991 (Paleoavifaunal Research)
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030031 - 01 Jul 2022
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Abstract
The examined material (207 bones and bone fragments) of 53 avian taxa from two human cave dwellings is dated between 24,000 ± 1000 BP and 9400 ± 100 BP. It reveals that 49.0% of the bird species/taxa disappeared from the recent bird fauna [...] Read more.
The examined material (207 bones and bone fragments) of 53 avian taxa from two human cave dwellings is dated between 24,000 ± 1000 BP and 9400 ± 100 BP. It reveals that 49.0% of the bird species/taxa disappeared from the recent bird fauna of the Thanh Hoa Province; 39.6% disappeared from the recent bird fauna of North Vietnam (except Thanh Hoa Province); 33.9% disappeared from the recent bird fauna of Vietnam (except North Vietnam); 28.3% are not extant in the recent bird fauna of Indochina (except Vietnam); and 52.8% disappeared from the recent bird fauna of Southeast Asia (except Indochina). This suggests more considerable influence of the Late Pleistocene climatic events on the environment and bird fauna than previously accepted in the Eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula in the last 24–millenia. The gallinaceous birds are best represented. Of the 39 Southeast-Asian species, 18 species/taxa (46.2 percent) are Galliforms. They consist of 34 percent of all bird taxa recorded in both caves. Four categories of the IUCN Red List have been represented among the established birds in the sites: LC—28, NT—7, VU—2 (Buceros bicornis and Rhyticeors undulates), and CR—2 (Lophura edwardsi and Rhinoplax vigil). Full article
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Review
On the Use of Spores of Coprophilous Fungi Preserved in Sediments to Indicate Past Herbivore Presence
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030030 - 29 Jun 2022
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Abstract
Fungal spores that grew on the faeces of herbivores in the past can be extracted from sediments and used to identify the presence of herbivores in former ecosystems. This review: (i) examines the factors that should be considered when interpreting these fungal spores, [...] Read more.
Fungal spores that grew on the faeces of herbivores in the past can be extracted from sediments and used to identify the presence of herbivores in former ecosystems. This review: (i) examines the factors that should be considered when interpreting these fungal spores, (ii) assesses the degree to which they can be used to estimate past herbivore populations and biomass density change, and (iii) identifies gaps in our current understanding that limit, or confound, the information that can be extracted from the fungal spore record. We focus on the life cycles of coprophilous fungi and highlight the importance of understanding spore dispersal mechanisms to ensure robust palaeoecological interpretation. We then discuss how variation in methodological approaches across studies and modifications can influence comparability between studies. The key recommendations that emerge relate to: (i) improving our understanding of the relationship between spores of coprophilous fungi (SCF) and herbivores through the study of the coprophilous fungi succession; (ii) refining our understanding of how climate and environment parameters effect fungal spore abundance, with particular reference to estimating past herbivore biomass density; and (iii) enhancing sedimentary DNA (SedaDNA) analysis to identify SCF that do not allow preservation in a way that allows visual identification. To further this field of study and provide more robust insights into herbivores in the past, we suggest that additional research is required to help to reduce bias during the preparation process, that concertation metrics are used for the quantification of SCF, and that multiple cores should be taken in each site and multiproxy analysis should be utilised. Full article
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Article
Middle Holocene Environment on the Ozark Margin in Southeast Missouri: Deciphering a Testudine Testament
Quaternary 2022, 5(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat5030029 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Turtle taxa represented at Lepold site 23RI59 in southeastern Missouri, USA provide a record of environmental conditions spanning the Middle Holocene. Identified turtle taxa show that open water was present between 7500 and 4000 radiocarbon years ago. Aquatic resources seem to be more [...] Read more.
Turtle taxa represented at Lepold site 23RI59 in southeastern Missouri, USA provide a record of environmental conditions spanning the Middle Holocene. Identified turtle taxa show that open water was present between 7500 and 4000 radiocarbon years ago. Aquatic resources seem to be more intensively exploited beginning about 6300 years ago, about 1200 years after intensive occupation of the site had begun. The observed turtle taxon composition is consistent with the presence of a floodplain with shallow, seasonal, overflow ponds, but with riverine and upland habitats also being represented. Full article
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