Special Issue "Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2021) | Viewed by 7522

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Maša Surić
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, Center for Karst and Coastal Research, University of Zadar, 23000 Zadar, Croatia
Interests: Quaternary environment; paleoclimate; karst; speleothem-based paleoenvironmental reconstruction; cave monitoring; sea-level changes; coastal and submerged karst
Dr. Lara Wacha
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Croatian Geological Survey, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: loess-palaeosol sequences; loess stratigraphy; aeolian sediments; luminescence dating; geochronology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Reconstruction of the Quaternary environment is one of the main issues in the global endeavor of predicting changes to come, to which the Mediterranean Sea is highly sensitive due to its latitude and landlocked position. Along with traditional methods and techniques, new multidisciplinary and sophisticated approaches enable scientists to examine all those natural and anthropogenic changes in temporal and spatial dimensions.

This Special Issue of Geosciences will encompass new insights and research innovations on changing inland, coastal, and submerged Mediterranean landscapes in the course of the Quaternary. Each region, European, North African, and Levantine, with its own climate context, passed throughout different changes, leaving the proxy records in different archives and forms—from geomorphic features, biological remains, loess, speleothem and tufa sequences, palaeosol, pollen, and geochemical imprint in lake and marine deposits, to archaeological and even historical records. Correlations of aforementioned proxies produce the most valuable platform for future predictions.

This issue welcomes a wide range of scientific interests and provides an outlet for rapid, widely accessible publication of peer-reviewed studies. Therefore, we would like to invite you to submit original research articles, review articles or short communications about your recent Quaternary studies, experimental work or specific case studies, with respect, but not limited, to the following topics:

  • Stratigraphy and chronology of Quaternary deposits of the Mediterranean;
  • Palaeoclimate proxy records from loess, speleothems, tufa, lake and marine cores, etc. and their correlation;
  • Climate-driven landscape evolution and glacial history of Mediterranean Mts.;
  • Response of the coastal environment to the sea-level changes;
  • Human interaction with the changing environment at the dawn of the Anthropocene;
  • Advances in geoarcheology and historical approach.

We also encourage you to send us a short abstract outlining the purpose of the research and the principal results obtained, in order to verify at an early stage if the contribution you intend to submit fits with the objectives of the Special Issue.

Prof. Maša Surić
Dr. Lara Wacha
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Quaternary
  • Mediterranean
  • Paleoclimate
  • Sea-level changes
  • Glaciations and desertification records
  • Marine and lake cores
  • Terrestrial sedimentary archives
  • Speleothems
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Paleoenvironmental reconstructions

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean
Geosciences 2022, 12(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences12020061 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Reconstruction of the Quaternary environment is one of the main issues in the global endeavour of predicting future changes, to which the Mediterranean Sea is highly sensitive due to its latitude and landlocked position [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)

Research

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Article
Geomorphology of the Coastal Sand Dune Fields and Their Association with the Palaeolandscape Evolution of Akrotiri Peninsula, Lemesos, Cyprus
Geosciences 2021, 11(11), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11110448 - 30 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 651
Abstract
Two well-developed late Pleistocene dune fields have been identified on the western and eastern side of Akrotiri promontory (Lemesos, Cyprus). The dune fields extend immediately from the low level of their source beaches onto higher ground (>48 m amsl). Geomorphic observations supported by [...] Read more.
Two well-developed late Pleistocene dune fields have been identified on the western and eastern side of Akrotiri promontory (Lemesos, Cyprus). The dune fields extend immediately from the low level of their source beaches onto higher ground (>48 m amsl). Geomorphic observations supported by OSL dating and sedimentological data provided evidence of the dune development and for the palaeogeographic reconstruction of the area. Relative sea level changes and wave action during the upper Pleistocene and Holocene played an important role into the development of the palaeolandscape and affected the formation of the dunes. From the collected data the development of the western dune field started at 56.2 ± 5.5 ka when the relative sea level was at approximately −60 m and contributed to the development of the western tombolo of the area whereas the eastern dune field developed in the late Holocene, after the formation of the eastern spit that resulted in the formation of the Akrotiri Salt lake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Article
The Potential of Tufa as a Tool for Paleoenvironmental Research—A Study of Tufa from the Zrmanja River Canyon, Croatia
Geosciences 2021, 11(9), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11090376 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
Tufa is a fresh-water surface calcium carbonate deposit precipitated at or near ambient temperature, and commonly contains the remains of macro- and microphytes. Many Holocene tufas are found along the Zrmanja River, Dalmatian karst, Croatia. In this work we present radiocarbon dating results [...] Read more.
Tufa is a fresh-water surface calcium carbonate deposit precipitated at or near ambient temperature, and commonly contains the remains of macro- and microphytes. Many Holocene tufas are found along the Zrmanja River, Dalmatian karst, Croatia. In this work we present radiocarbon dating results of older tufa that was found for the first time at the Zrmanja River near the Village of Sanaderi. Tufa outcrops were observed at different levels, between the river bed and up to 26 m above its present level. Radiocarbon dating of the carbonate fraction revealed ages from modern, at the river bed, up to 40 kBP ~20 m above its present level. These ages fit well with the hypothesis that the Zrmanja River had a previous surface connection with the Krka River, and changed its flow direction toward the Novigrad Sea approximately 40 kBP (Marine Isotope Stage 3). Radiocarbon AMS dating of tufa organic residue yielded a maximum conventional age of 17 kBP for the highest outcrop position indicating probable penetration of younger organic material to hollow tufa structures, as confirmed by radiocarbon analyses of humin extracted from the samples. Stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of the carbonate fraction of (−10.4 ± 0.6)‰ and (−9.7 ± 0.8)‰ for the Holocene and the older samples, respectively, indicate the autochthonous origin of the carbonate. The δ13C values of (−30.5 ± 0.3)‰ and (−29.6 ± 0.6)‰ for organic residue, having ages <500 BP and >5000 BP, respectively, suggest a unique carbon source for photosynthesis, mainly atmospheric CO2, with an indication of the Suess effect in δ13C during last centuries. The oxygen isotopic composition (δ18O) agrees well with deposition of tufa samples in two stages, the Holocene (−8.02 ± 0.72‰) and “old” (mainly MIS 3 and the beginning of MIS 2) (−6.89 ± 0.34‰), suggesting a ~4 °C lower temperature in MIS 3 compared to the current one. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Article
Speleothem Records of the Hydroclimate Variability throughout the Last Glacial Cycle from Manita peć Cave (Velebit Mountain, Croatia)
Geosciences 2021, 11(8), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080347 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 837
Abstract
We present stable carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope records from two partially coeval speleothems from Manita peć Cave, Croatia. The cave is located close to the Adriatic coast (3.7 km) at an elevation of 570 m a.s.l. The [...] Read more.
We present stable carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope records from two partially coeval speleothems from Manita peć Cave, Croatia. The cave is located close to the Adriatic coast (3.7 km) at an elevation of 570 m a.s.l. The site experienced competing Mediterranean and continental climate influences throughout the last glacial cycle and was situated close to the ice limit during the glacial phases. U-Th dating constrains the growth history from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 to MIS 3 and the transition from MIS 2 to MIS 1. 14C dating was used to estimate the age of the youngest part of one stalagmite found to be rich in detrital thorium and thus undatable by U-Th. On a millennial scale, δ18O variations partly mimic the Dansgaard–Oeschger interstadials recorded in Greenland ice cores (Greenland Interstadials, GI) from GI 22 to GI 13. We interpret our δ18O record as a proxy for variations in precipitation amount and/or moisture sources, and the δ13C record is interpreted as a proxy for changes in soil bioproductivity. The latter indicates a generally reduced vegetation cover towards MIS 3–MIS 4, with shifts of ~8‰ and approaching values close to those of the host rock. However, even during the coldest phases, when a periglacial setting and enhanced aridity sustained long-residence-time groundwater, carbonic-acid dissolution remains the driving force of the karstification processes. Speleothem morphology follows changes in environmental conditions and complements regional results of submerged speleothems findings. Specifically, narrow sections of light porous spelaean calcite precipitated during the glacial/stadial sea-level lowstands, while the warmer and wetter conditions were marked with compact calcite and hiatuses in submerged speleothems due to sea-level highstands. Presumably, the transformation of this littoral site to a continental one with somewhat higher amounts of orographic precipitation was a site-specific effect that masked regional environmental changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Article
Observations on Palaeogeographical Evolution of Akrotiri Salt Lake, Lemesos, Cyprus
Geosciences 2021, 11(8), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080321 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
Akrotiri Salt Lake is located 5 km west of the city of Lemesos in the southernmost part of the island of Cyprus. The evolution of the Akrotiri Salt Lake is of great scientific interest, occurring during the Holocene when eustatic and isostatic movements [...] Read more.
Akrotiri Salt Lake is located 5 km west of the city of Lemesos in the southernmost part of the island of Cyprus. The evolution of the Akrotiri Salt Lake is of great scientific interest, occurring during the Holocene when eustatic and isostatic movements combined with local active tectonics and climate change developed a unique geomorphological environment. The Salt Lake today is a closed lagoon, which is depicted in Venetian maps as being connected to the sea, provides evidence of the geological setting and landscape evolution of the area. In this study, for the first time, we investigated the development of the Akrotiri Salt Lake through a series of three cores which penetrated the Holocene sediment sequence. Sedimentological and micropaleontological analyses, as well as geochronological studies were performed on the deposited sediments, identifying the complexity of the evolution of the Salt Lake and the progressive change of the area from a maritime space to an open bay and finally to a closed salt lake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Article
Human Footprints in the Karst Landscape: The Influence of Lime Production on the Landscape of the Northern Dalmatian Islands (Croatia)
Geosciences 2021, 11(8), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080303 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 830
Abstract
Throughout history, the production of lime on the Croatian islands, which are mostly made of limestone and dolomite, has been an important economic activity. In the northern Dalmatian islands, which are centrally positioned on the northeastern Adriatic coast, lime was produced for local [...] Read more.
Throughout history, the production of lime on the Croatian islands, which are mostly made of limestone and dolomite, has been an important economic activity. In the northern Dalmatian islands, which are centrally positioned on the northeastern Adriatic coast, lime was produced for local needs, but also for the purposes of construction in the nearby cities of Zadar and Šibenik. On the basis of research into various written and cartographic archival sources relating to spatial data, in addition to the results of field research, various traces of lime production have been found in the landscape of the northern Dalmatian islands. Indications of this activity in the insular karst are visible in anthropogenic forms of insular relief (lime kilns, small quarries, stone deposits) and in degraded forms of Mediterranean vegetation. This activity has also left its mark on the linguistic landscape in the form of toponyms, indicating that lime kilns were an important part of the cultural landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Article
Transgressive Architecture of Coastal Barrier Systems in the Ofanto Incised Valley and Its Surrounding Shelf in Response to Stepped Sea-Level Rise
Geosciences 2020, 10(12), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10120497 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
Coastal deposits/barriers react to sea-level rise through rollover or overstepping. Preserved coastal deposits/barriers allow us to examine coastal responses to sea-level rise, an important aspect within the context of climate change. This study identifies the Ofanto incised valley and examines the possible factors [...] Read more.
Coastal deposits/barriers react to sea-level rise through rollover or overstepping. Preserved coastal deposits/barriers allow us to examine coastal responses to sea-level rise, an important aspect within the context of climate change. This study identifies the Ofanto incised valley and examines the possible factors that caused the considerable difference in shape between this valley and adjacent valleys: the Carapelle and Cervaro incised valley and Manfredonia incised valley. In addition, this study assesses the response of transgressive units to stepped sea-level rise with a focus on the evolution of palaeo-barriers/shorelines on the continental shelf and within the infill of Ofanto incised valley. We identified the traces of two slowstands in sea-level rise: the first, short-lived at a centennial scale, interrupted Meltwater Pulse 1A; the second is referable to part of Bølling-Allerød and Younger Dryas. During these two slowstands, two barrier-shoreface/estuarine-backbarrier systems formed. Meltwater Pulse 1A and Meltwater Pulse 1B led to overstepping and partial preservation of these systems in the form of aligned topographic highs. The second slowstand gave rise to continuous landward backstepping of the coastal barrier system; during the following Meltwater Pulse 1B (MWP-1B), landward rollover of the coeval barrier/backbarrier system occurred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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Review

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Review
The Use of Submerged Speleothems for Sea Level Studies in the Mediterranean Sea: A New Perspective Using Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)
Geosciences 2021, 11(2), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11020077 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1136
Abstract
The investigation of submerged speleothems for sea level studies has made significant contributions to the understanding of the global and regional sea level variations during the Middle and Late Quaternary. This has especially been the case for the Mediterranean Sea, where more than [...] Read more.
The investigation of submerged speleothems for sea level studies has made significant contributions to the understanding of the global and regional sea level variations during the Middle and Late Quaternary. This has especially been the case for the Mediterranean Sea, where more than 300 submerged speleothems sampled in 32 caves have been analysed so far. Here, we present a comprehensive review of the results obtained from the study of submerged speleothems since 1978. The studied speleothems cover the last 1.4 Myr and are mainly focused on Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 1, 2, 3, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.5. The results reveal that submerged speleothems represent extraordinary archives providing accurate information on former sea level changes. New results from a stalagmite collected at Palinuro (Campania, Italy) and characterized by marine overgrowth are also reported. The measured elevations of speleothems are affected by the local response to glacial and hydro-isostatic adjustment (GIA), and thus might significantly deviate from the global eustatic signal. A comparison of the ages and altitude values of the Mediterranean speleothems and flowstone from the Bahamas with local GIA provides a new scenario for MIS 5 and 7 sea level reconstructions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Quaternary Environment in the Mediterranean)
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