(1) Geomorphology, Soils and Paleosols in Arid and Semi-arid Regions.
(2) The Dynamics of Inorganic Carbon (Sub-microscopy and Stable Isotope Geochemistry) in the Soils of Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems.
(3) The Dynamics of Dust in Arid and Semi-arid Landscapes and Its Role in Soil Formation.
(4) Reconstruction of Quaternary Environments and Climates based on Geomorphic and Pedogenetic Proxies.
Tracing palaeo-environmental conditions of the late Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene in a climatically dynamic region of Western Asia (TERRAS)
Western Asia, extending from the Iranian Plateau and the Arabian Peninsula to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, is commonly considered as one of the most climatically dynamic regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The interest in deciphering climatic oscillations over time in this region is increasing. Due to the lack of suitable data and archives, large uncertainties, however, exist about environmental patterns during the Pleistocene to the Holocene. These uncertainties are related to insufficient or contrasting chronological time constraints of geomorphic proxies that would witness palaeoenvironmental conditions, especially on time scales beyond MIS 2. In addition, suitable archives are often missing or have been difficult to be accessed. Furthermore, non-climatic factors on environmental fluctuations biased climate-forced signatures of related deposits or the complex interactions between temperature and precipitation remained challenging to disentangle.
The proposed project will address these aspects in the Zayandehroud River area in central Iran using a combined approach of state-of-the-art dating and analytical techniques, with the overarching aim to improve our understanding of the palaeo-environmental and soil forming conditions. In this region, abundant fluvial and alluvial deposits are present together with soils that exhibit significant amounts of secondary carbonates. Terraces, secondary carbonates and palaeosoils can be excellent indicators of palaeoenvironmental conditions.