Environmental changes on Yugorski Peninsula, Kara Sea, Russia, during the last 12,800 radiocarbon years

Andrei A. Andreev*, William F. Manley, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Steve L. Forman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


New pollen and radiocarbon data from an8.6-m coastal section, Cape Shpindler (69°43′N; 62°48′E), Yugorski Peninsula, document the latest Pleistocene and Holocene environmental history of this low Arctic region. Twelve AMS 14C dates indicate that the deposits accumulated since about 13,000 until 2000 radiocarbon years BP. A thermokarst lake formed ca. 13,000-12,800 years BP, when scarce arctic tundra vegetation dominated the area. By 12,500 years BP, a shallow lake existed at the site, and Arctic tundra with Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Salix, Saxifraga, and Artemisia dominated nearby vegetation. Climate was colder than today. Betula nana became dominant during the Early Preboreal period about 9500 years BP, responding to a warm event, which was one of the warmest during the Holocene. Decline inB. nana and Salix after 9500 years BP reflects a brief event of Preboreal cooling. A subsequent increase in Betula and Alnus fruticosa pollen percentages reflects amelioration of environmental conditions at the end of Preboreal period (ca. 9300 years BP). A decline in arboreal taxa later, with a dramatic increase in herb taxa, reflects a short cold event at about 9200 years BP. The pollen data reflect a northward movement of tree birch, peaking at the middle Boreal period, around 8500 years BP. Open Betula forest existed on the Kara Sea coast of the Yugorski Peninsula during the Atlantic period (8000-4500 years BP), indicating that climate was significantly warmer than today. Deteriorating climate around the Atlantic-Subboreal boundary (ca. 4500 years BP) is recorded by a decline in Betula percentages. Sedimentation slowed at the site, and processes of denudation and/or soil formation started at the beginning of the Subatlantic period, when vegetation cover on Yugorski Peninsula shifted to near-modern assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible through grants and logistical support from the Swedish Natural Sciences Research Council, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Göteborg University, and the National Science Foundation (OPP-9529350 and OPP-9529293). Marina Leibman (Earth Cryosphere Institute, Moscow) helped greatly with logistical preparations, and Lisa Doner (INSTAAR, University of Colorado) ably prepared the pollen samples.

Other keywords

  • Kara Sea coast
  • Late Quaternary paleoenvironment
  • Paleovegetation
  • Palynology
  • Russian Arctic


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