Marine Isotope Stage 4 in Australasia: a full glacial culminating 65,000 years ago – global connections and implications for human dispersal

De Deckker, Patrick; Arnold, Lee J.; van der Kaars, Sander; Bayon, Germain; Stuut, Jan-Berend W.; Perner, Kerstin; Lopes Dos Santos, Raquel; Uemura, Ryu; Demuro, Martina. 2019 Marine Isotope Stage 4 in Australasia: a full glacial culminating 65,000 years ago – global connections and implications for human dispersal. Quaternary Science Reviews, 204. 187-207.

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Over the last four decades of palaeoclimate research, significant emphasis has been placed on the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) spanning 26.5–19 thousand years ago (ka), a period that saw significant (∼125 m) sea-level reductions and major ice caps adorning large parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Here, we present evidence for another major glacial period spanning 71–59 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 4: MIS4) from a well-dated marine sequence offshore South Australia. The astronomically-tuned chronology of this deep-sea core is confirmed using single-grain optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL), providing confidence in our high-resolution age model. Our approach to the study of our MD03-2607 core has been to employ many different proxies. These are: δ18O of both planktic and benthic foraminifera for stratigraphic purposes, faunal counts of planktonic foraminifera to reconstruct the position of oceanic fronts and currents, alkenone palaeothermometry, XRF core scanning to determine the presence of aeolian dust, and εNd isotope to identify fluvial discharge over the core site. We compare our new proxy findings with other archives for mainland Australia and Tasmania. Our multi-proxy palaeoclimate reconstructions are consistent with other marine, terrestrial and cryosphere archives across the Southern Hemisphere and suggest, for the first time, that MIS 4 was almost as dramatic as the LGM. During MIS4, global sea-level was reduced by ∼100 m, glaciers across Australasia were more significant compared to the LGM, and sea-surface temperatures were much reduced. These glacial conditions uniformly peaked around 65 ka. Global comparisons show major glacial conditions and vegetation shifts elsewhere during MIS4, but many are poorly dated. The significant environmental changes taking place during this glacial period were paralleled by waves of human dispersal across Eurasia and the earliest evidence of human occupation in northern Australia at 65 ka.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02773791
Date made live: 14 Mar 2019 09:34 +0 (UTC)

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