Stockholm university

Malin KylanderAssociate professor of Sediment geochemistry

About me

My background is in analytical chemistry and environmental geochemistry. Today I work mostly on inorganic chemistry in lake sediments and peat, developing proxies for the reconstruction of past climate change on time scales from the last hundred years to 100,000 years. I have several outreach projects working with high school students where they take an active part in data collection with our research group. Some of the projects I am currently involved in include:

  • Reconstructing storminess in the eastern North Atlantic during the Holocene
  • Temporal scale changes in species distributions in boreal peatlands
  • Reconstruction of Holocene atmospheric mineral dust deposition from raised peat bogs in south-central Sweden
  • Reconstructing hydroclimatic variations from the Last Glacial to historical times in the eastern Lesotho 
  • Developing GPR methods for determining carbon stocks and bottom topography of peatlands

You can follow our group's work on Instragram: @su.bogsquad

I am co-responsible for the S:LAM Lab and the running of an ITRAX XRF core scanner, which makes high-resolution (down to 200 μm), non-destructive XRF analyses of lake and marine sediments. I work to constrain matrix effects, develop novel sample preparation methods and broaden the range of routinely made applications in our lab.

I also have an interest in gender issues and women in science. I have written articles about this which you can read in the online journal Angle (Kylander 2019) and in the Stockhokm University magazine UniversitetsNytt (Kylander 2019).

I am Director of PhD Studies at the Department of Geological Sciences as well as course director for the BSc course Sedimentary Systems (GG4208) and the Masters courses Climate Change Throughout Earth’s History (GG8021) and Paleoclimatology (GG7022). 

You can see what our fieldwork is like in "De första svenskarna" on SVT (around 30 minutes in).

Follow me on Twitter @professorpeat


Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • It's in your glass

    2020. Malin E. Kylander (et al.). Boreas 49 (1), 152-167


    Severe winter windstorms have become an increasingly common occurrence over recent decades in northwestern Europe. Although there exists considerable uncertainty, storminess is projected to increase in the future. On centennial to millennial time scales in particular, the mechanisms forcing storminess remain unsettled. We contribute to available palaeostorm records by reconstructing changes over the last 6670 years using a coastal peat sequence retrieved from the ombrotrophic Laphroaig bog on Islay, southwestern Scotland. We use a combination of ash content, grain size and elemental chemistry to identify periods of greater storminess, which are dated to 6605, 6290-6225, 5315-5085, 4505, 3900-3635, 3310-3130, 2920-2380, 2275-2190, 2005-1860, 1305-1090, 805-435 and 275 cal. a BP. Storm signals in the first half of the record up to similar to 3000 cal. a BP are mainly apparent in the grain-size changes. Samples from this time period also have a different elemental signature than those later in the record. We speculate that this is due to receding sea levels and the consequent establishment of a new sand source in the form of dunes, which are still present today. The most significant events and strongest winds are found during the Iron Ages Cold Epoch (2645 cal. a BP), the transition into, and in the middle of, the Roman Ages Warm Period (2235 and 1965 cal. a BP) and early in the Little Ice Age (545 cal. a BP). The Laphroaig record generally agrees with regionally relevant peat palaeostorm records from Wales and the Outer Hebrides, although the relative importance of the different storm periods is not the same. In general, stormier periods are coeval with cold periods in the region as evidenced by parallels with increased ice-rafted debris in the North Atlantic, highlighting that sea-ice conditions could impact future storminess and storm track position.

    Read more about It's in your glass
  • Testing the applicability of dendrochemistry using X-ray fluorescence to trace environmental contamination at a glassworks site

    2020. Eva Rocha (et al.). Science of the Total Environment 720


    The potential of dendrochemistry as a tool for tracing anthropogenic contamination at a glassworks site in southeastern Sweden was investigated through a multidisciplinary approach combining continuous high-resolution time series of tree rings and sediment profiles. Tree cores from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Norway spruce (Picea abies) and European aspen (Populus tremula) were analysed for their elemental composition using an energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) technique. Sediment cores were sampled along a transect extending from the pollution point source to unpolluted areas and analysed using core-scanning-XRF (CS-XRF). High contaminant concentrations in the soil were found for As (approximate to 2000 ppm), Pb (>5000 ppm), Ba (approximate to 1000 ppm) and Cd (approximate to 150 ppm). The concentrations decreased with depth and distance from the pollution source. The dendrochemical analyses revealed alterations in the Barium, Chlorine and Manganese profiles, allowing the identification of seven potential asynchronous releases from the glassworks. Our results suggest that differences in the response of tree species to elemental uptake together with soil chemical properties dictate the success of dendrochemistry as an environmental monitoring tool.

    Read more about Testing the applicability of dendrochemistry using X-ray fluorescence to trace environmental contamination at a glassworks site
  • Paleodust deposition and peat accumulation rates - Bog size matters

    2020. Jenny K. Sjöström (et al.). Chemical Geology 554


    We present a high-resolution peat paleodust and accumulation rate record spanning the last 8300 years from Draftinge Mosse (400 ha), southern Sweden (57 degrees 06'27.6 '' N 13 degrees 42'54.1 '' E). The record was analysed for peat accumulation rates (PAR), elemental concentrations, mineralogy, and plant macrofossil content. Five periods of increased mineral deposition were recorded. The first event occurred between similar to 6280 and similar to 5570 cal BP, during the fen to bog transition. This is followed by four atmospheric mineral dust events (DE) which were recorded in the ombrotrophic section of the sequence at (cal BP): similar to 2200; similar to 1385-1150; similar to 830-590, and from similar to 420 to the present. Statistical analysis and elemental ratios indicated that both the mineralogy and grain size shifted when the system transitioned from fen into bog, showing that the governing transport process shifted with the peat-land succession stages. This highlights the importance of identifying peatland succession stages within peat paleodust studies. Following all four DE, increases in PAR were observed, implying a coupling to dust deposition. Comparison of DE and PAR with a paleodust record from Store Mosse, a 20 times larger bog located ca 18 km away (Kylander et al. 2016), showed that both PAR and dust deposition are largely represented by single-core reconstructions, indicating that they are driven by a common climate forcing mechanism. However, higher PAR and dust deposition rates were observed in the more moderately sized Draftinge Mosse, suggesting that the size of the bog is important to consider in peat paleodust studies. Furthermore, the smaller bog responded more rapidly to hydrological changes, indicating that the size of the bog affects its' buffering capacity. Authigenic carbonates, observed here during episodes of rapid peat growth, coincide with changes in REE ratios, indicating that authigenic peat processes potentially cause REE fractionation.

    Read more about Paleodust deposition and peat accumulation rates - Bog size matters
  • Human bones tell the story of atmospheric mercury and lead exposure at the edge of Roman World

    2020. Olalla López-Costas (et al.). Science of the Total Environment 710


    Atmospheric metal pollution is a major health concern whose roots pre-date industrialization. This study pertains the analyses of ancient human skeletons and compares them with natural archives to trace historical environmental exposure at the edge of the Roman Empire in NW Iberia The novelty of our approach relies on the combination of mercury, lead and lead isotopes. We found over a 700-year period that rural Romans incorporated two times more mercury and lead into their bones than post-Romans inhabiting the same site, independent of sex or age. Atmospheric pollution sources contributed on average 57% (peaking at 85%) of the total lead incorporated into the bones in Roman times, which decreased to 24% after the decline of Rome. These values and accompanying changes in lead isotopic composition mirror changes in atmospheric Pb deposition recorded in local peatlands. Thus, skeletons are a time-transgressive archive reflecting contaminant exposure.

    Read more about Human bones tell the story of atmospheric mercury and lead exposure at the edge of Roman World
  • High-resolution fjord sediment record of a receding glacier with growing intermediate proglacial lake (Steffen Fjord, Chilean Patagonia)

    2020. Loic Piret (et al.). Earth Surface Processes and Landforms


    Proglacial lakes are effective sediment traps but their impact on the reliability of downstream sediment records to reconstruct glacier variability remains unclear. Here, we investigate the sedimentary signature of the recent recession of Steffen Glacier (Chilean Patagonia, 47 degrees S) in downstream fjord sediments, with a focus on identifying the trapping (decreased downstream sediment yield) and filtering (removal of coarse particles) effectiveness of a growing intermediate proglacial lake. Four sediment cores were collected along a 14 km longitudinal transect in Steffen Fjord and the sediment physical and chemical properties were compared with aerial imagery at high temporal resolution. The caesium-137 (Cs-137) chronology of the most distal core and sediment trap data suggest that sediment accumulation in the fjord remained relatively stable through time, despite the accelerating glacier recession and the growth of Steffen proglacial lake. This is in contrast with many studies that indicate a decrease in sediment yield during proglacial lake expansion. It implies that the increase in sediment export due to accelerating meltwater production may be balanced by the sediment trapping effect of the growing proglacial lake. The fjord sediments show a slight fining upward accompanied by a marked decrease in flood-induced grain-size peaks, most likely due to the increasing filtering and dampening effect of the expanding proglacial lake. Our findings show that the filtering effect of the proglacial lake reached a threshold in 1985, when the lake attained an area of 2.02 km(2). The additional 5 km of glacier recession during the following 32 years did not have any significant impact on downstream sedimentation. This study confirms that proglacial lakes act as sediment traps but it indicates that (1) the trapping effect can be outpaced by accelerating glacier recession and (2) the filtering effect becomes stable once the lake attains a certain critical size.

    Read more about High-resolution fjord sediment record of a receding glacier with growing intermediate proglacial lake (Steffen Fjord, Chilean Patagonia)
  • Holocene atmospheric dust deposition in NW Spain

    2020. Antonio Martínez Cortizas (et al.). The Holocene 30 (4), 507-518


    Atmospheric dust plays an important role in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, particularly those that are nutrient limited. Despite that most dust originates from arid and semi-arid regions, recent research has shown that past dust events may have been involved in boosting productivity in nutrient-poor peatlands. We investigated dust deposition in a mid-latitude, raised bog, which is surrounded by a complex geology (paragneiss/schist, granite, quartzite and granodiorite). As proxies for dust fluxes, we used accumulation rates of trace (Ti, Zr, Rb, Sr and Y) as well as major (K and Ca) lithogenic elements. The oldest, largest dust deposition event occurred between similar to 8.6 and similar to 7.4 ka BP, peaking at similar to 8.1 ka BP (most probably the 8.2 ka BP event). The event had a large impact on the evolution of the mire, which subsequently transitioned from a fen into a raised bog in similar to 1500 years. From similar to 6.7 to similar to 4.0 ka BP, fluxes were very low, coeval with mid-Holocene forest stability and maximum extent. In the late Holocene, after similar to 4.0 ka BP, dust events became more prevalent with relatively major deposition at similar to 3.2-2.5, similar to 1.4 ka BP and similar to 0.35-0.05 ka BP, and minor peaks at similar to 4.0-3.7, similar to 1.7, similar to 1.10-0.95 ka BP and similar to 0.74-0.58 ka BP. Strontium fluxes display a similar pattern between similar to 11 and similar to 6.7 ka BP but then became decoupled from the other elements from the mid Holocene onwards. This seems to be a specific signal of the granodiorite batholith, which has an Sr anomaly. The reconstructed variations in dust fluxes bear a strong climatic imprint, probably related to storminess controlled by North Atlantic Oscillation conditions. Complex interactions also arise because of increased pressure from human activities.

    Read more about Holocene atmospheric dust deposition in NW Spain
  • A South Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial

    2019. Svante Björck (et al.). Climate of the Past 15 (6), 1939-1958


    Changes in the latitudinal position and strength of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies (SHW) are thought to be tightly coupled to important climate processes, such as cross-equatorial heat fluxes, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the bipolar seesaw, Southern Ocean ventilation and atmospheric CO2 levels. However, many uncertainties regarding magnitude, direction, and causes and effects of past SHW shifts still exist due to lack of suitable sites and scarcity of information on SHW dynamics, especially from the last glacial. Here we present a detailed hydroclimate multiproxy record from a 36.4-18.6 kyr old lake sediment sequence on Nightingale Island (NI). It is strategically located at 37 degrees S in the central South Atlantic (SA) within the SHW belt and situated just north of the marine Subtropical Front (SF). This has enabled us to assess hydroclimate changes and their link to the regional climate development as well as to large-scale climate events in polar ice cores. The NI record exhibits a continuous impact of the SHW, recording shifts in both position and strength, and between 36 and 31 ka the westerlies show high latitudinal and strength-wise variability possibly linked to the bipolar seesaw. This was followed by 4 kyr of slightly falling tem-peratures, decreasing humidity and fairly southerly westerlies. After 27 ka temperatures decreased 3-4 degrees C, marking the largest hydroclimate change with drier conditions and a variable SHW position. We note that periods with more intense and southerly-positioned SHW seem to be related to periods of increased CO2 outgassing from the ocean, while changes in the cross-equatorial gradient during large northern temperature changes appear as the driving mechanism for the SHW shifts. Together with coeval shifts of the South Pacific westerlies, our results show that most of the Southern Hemisphere experienced simultaneous atmospheric circulation changes during the latter part of the last glacial. Finally we can conclude that multiproxy lake records from oceanic islands have the potential to record atmospheric variability coupled to large-scale climate shifts over vast oceanic areas.

    Read more about A South Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial
  • Procedure for Organic Matter Removal from Peat Samples for XRD Mineral Analysis

    2019. Jenny K. Sjöström (et al.). Wetlands (Wilmington, N.C.) 39 (3), 473-481


    Ombrotrophic peatlands are recognized archives of past atmospheric mineral dust deposition. Net dust deposition rates, grain size, mineral hosts and source areas are typically inferred from down-core elemental data. Although elemental analysis can be time efficient and data rich, there are some inherent limitations. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis allowsdirect identification of mineral phases in environmental samples but few studies have applied this method to peat samples and a well-developed protocol for extracting the inorganic fraction of highly organic samples (>95%) is lacking. We tested and compared different levels of pre-treatment: no pre-treatment, thermal combustion (300, 350, 400, 450, 500 and 550 degrees C) and chemical oxidation (H2O2 and Na2S2O8) using a homogenised highly organic (>98%) composite peat sample. Subsequently, minerals were identified by XRD. The results show that combustion is preferred to chemical oxidation because it most efficiently removes organic matter (OM), an important pre-requisite for identifying mineral phases by XRD analysis. Thermally induced phase transitions can be anticipated when temperature is the only factor to take into consideration. Based on the data required in this studythe recommended combustion temperature is 500 degrees C which efficiently removes OM while preserving a majority of common dust minerals.

    Read more about Procedure for Organic Matter Removal from Peat Samples for XRD Mineral Analysis
  • Mineral dust as a driver of carbon accumulation in northern latitudes

    2018. Malin E. Kylander (et al.). Scientific Reports 8


    Peatlands in northern latitudes sequester one third of the world's soil organic carbon. Mineral dusts can affect the primary productivity of terrestrial systems through nutrient transport but this process has not yet been documented in these peat-rich regions. Here we analysed organic and inorganic fractions of an 8900-year-old sequence from Store Mosse (the Great Bog) in southern Sweden. Between 5420 and 4550 cal yr BP, we observe a seven-fold increase in net peat-accumulation rates corresponding to a maximum carbon-burial rate of 150 g C m(-2) yr(-1) -more than six times the global average. This high peat accumulation event occurs in parallel with a distinct change in the character of the dust deposited on the bog, which moves from being dominated by clay minerals to less weathered, phosphate and feldspar minerals. We hypothesize that this shift boosted nutrient input to the bog and stimulated ecosystem productivity. This study shows that diffuse sources and dust dynamics in northern temperate latitudes, often overlooked by the dust community in favour of arid and semi-arid regions, can be important drivers of peatland carbon accumulation and by extension, global climate, warranting further consideration in predictions of future climate variability.

    Read more about Mineral dust as a driver of carbon accumulation in northern latitudes
  • Abrupt high-latitude climate events and decoupled seasonal trends during the Eemian

    2018. J. Sakari Salonen (et al.). Nature Communications 9


    The Eemian (the Last Interglacial; ca. 129-116 thousand years ago) presents a testbed for assessing environmental responses and climate feedbacks under warmer-than-present boundary conditions. However, climate syntheses for the Eemian remain hampered by lack of data from the high-latitude land areas, masking the climate response and feedbacks in the Arctic. Here we present a high-resolution (sub-centennial) record of Eemian palaeoclimate from northern Finland, with multi-model reconstructions for July and January air temperature. In contrast with the mid-latitudes of Europe, our data show decoupled seasonal trends with falling July and rising January temperatures over the Eemian, due to orbital and oceanic forcings. This leads to an oceanic Late-Eemian climate, consistent with an earlier hypothesis of glacial inception in Europe. The interglacial is further intersected by two strong cooling and drying events. These abrupt events parallel shifts in marine proxy data, linked to disturbances in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation regime.

    Read more about Abrupt high-latitude climate events and decoupled seasonal trends during the Eemian
  • Industrial-era lead and mercury contamination in southern Greenland implicates North American sources

    2018. Marta Pérez-Rodríguez (et al.). Science of the Total Environment 613, 919-930


    To study the long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants from lower latitude industrial areas to the Arctic, we analysed a peat core spanning the last similar to 700 cal. yr (similar to 1300-2000 CE) from southern Greenland, an area sensitive to atmospheric pollution from North American and Eurasian sources. A previous investigation conducted in the same location recorded atmospheric lead (Pb) pollution after similar to 1845, with peak values recorded in the 1970s, and concluded that a North American source was most likely. To confirm the origin of the lead, we present new Pb isotope data from Sandhavn, together with a high-resolution record for mercury (Hg) deposition. Results demonstrate that the mercury accumulation rate has steadily increased since the beginning of the 19th century, with maximum values of 9.3 mu g m(-2) yr(-1) recorded similar to 1940. Lead isotopic ratios show two mixing lines: one which represents inputs from local and regional geogenic sources, and another that comprises regional geogenic and pollution sources. Detrending the Pb isotopic ratio record (thereby extracting the effect of the geogenic mixing) has enabled us to reconstruct a detailed chronology of metal pollution. The first sustained decrease in Pb isotope signals is recorded as beginning similar to 1740-1780 with the lowest values (indicating the highest pollution signature) dated to similar to 1960-1970. The 206Pb/207Pb ratio of excess Pb (measuring 1.222, and reflecting pollution generated Pb), when compared with the Pb isotopic composition of the Sandhavn peat record since the 19th century and the timing of Pb enrichments, clearly points to the dominance of pollution sources fromNorth America, although it did not prove possible to further differentiate the emissions sources geographically.

    Read more about Industrial-era lead and mercury contamination in southern Greenland implicates North American sources
  • New insights from XRF core scanning data into boreal lake ontogeny during the Eemian (Marine Isotope Stage 5e) at Sokli, northeast Finland

    2018. Malin E. Kylander (et al.). Quaternary Research 89 (1), 352-364


    Biological proxies from the Sokli Eemian (Marine Isotope Stage 5e) paleolake sequence from northeast Finland have previously shown that, unlike many postglacial records from boreal sites, the lake becomes increasingly eutrophic over time. Here, principal components (PC) were extracted from a high resolution multi-element XRF core scanning dataset to describe minerogenic input from the wider catchment (PC1), the input of S, Fe, Mn, and Ca-rich detrital material from the surrounding Sokli Carbonatite Massif (PC2), and chemical weathering (PC3). Minerogenic inputs to the lake were elevated early in the record and during two abrupt cooling events when soils and vegetation in the catchment were poor. Chemical weathering in the catchment generally increased over time, coinciding with higher air temperatures, catchment productivity, and the presence of acidic conifer species. Abiotic edaphic processes play a key role in lake ontogeny at this site stemming from the base cation- and nutrient-rich bedrock, which supports lake alkalinity and productivity. The climate history at this site, and its integrated effects on the lake system, appear to override development processes and alters its long-term trajectory.

    Read more about New insights from XRF core scanning data into boreal lake ontogeny during the Eemian (Marine Isotope Stage 5e) at Sokli, northeast Finland
  • Hasseldala-a key site for Last Termination climate events in northern Europe

    2017. Barbara Wohlfarth (et al.). Boreas 46 (2), 143-161


    The Last Termination (19 000-11 000 a BP) with its rapid and distinct climate shifts provides a perfect laboratory to study the nature and regional impact of climate variability. The sedimentary succession from the ancient lake at Hasseldala Port in southern Sweden with its distinct Lateglacial/early Holocene stratigraphy (> 14.1-9.5 cal. ka BP) is one of the few chronologically well-constrained, multi- proxy sites in Europe that capture a variety of local and regional climatic and environmental signals. Here we present Hasseldala's multi-proxy records (lithology, geochemistry, pollen, diatoms, chironomids, biomarkers, hydrogen isotopes) in a refined age model and place the observed changes in lake status, catchment vegetation, summer temperatures and hydroclimate in a wider regional context. Reconstructed mean July temperatures increased between c. 14.1 and c. 13.1 cal. ka BP and subsequently declined. This latter cooling coincided with drier hydroclimatic conditions that were probably associated with a freshening of the Nordic Seas and started a few hundred years before the onset of Greenland Stadial 1 (c. 12.9 cal. ka BP). Our proxies suggest a further shift towards colder and drier conditions as late as c. 12.7 cal. ka BP, which was followed by the establishment of a stadial climate regime (c. 12.5-11.8 cal. ka BP). The onset of warmer and wetter conditions preceded the Holocene warming over Greenland by c. 200 years. Hasseldala's proxies thus highlight the complexity of environmental and hydrological responses across abrupt climate transitions in northern Europe.

    Read more about Hasseldala-a key site for Last Termination climate events in northern Europe
  • Development of an Eemian (MIS 5e) Interglacial palaeolake at Sokli (N Finland) inferred using multiple proxies

    2016. Anna Plikk (et al.). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 463, 11-26


    A 12 m long lacustrine record from Sokli, N Finland, was analyzed for diatoms, non-pollen palynomorphs, macrofossils, pollen and geochemistry in order to reconstruct the development of a high-latitude Eemian lake and investigate the influence of climatic and environmental changes on the lake ecosystem. Based on this multi-proxy dataset we distinguished five major lake phases in the lake's evolution. An initial minerogenic, glacio-lacustrine phase was followed by an organic-rich early Eemian lake phase characterized by anoxic bottom waters, high seasonality and rising nutrient levels. A long open water season, pronounced summer stratification and high productivity characterized the following early mid-Eemian lake phase, corresponding to the Eemian thermal maximum. During the late mid-Eemian lake phase decreasing water depths due to infilling and extensive mixing of the water column resulted in less stable summer stratification and decreased anoxia. The late-Eemian lake phase was characterized by shallow and dynamic conditions and a cooling climate. Superimposed on these general trends are two events characterized by colder and more arid conditions, that possibly match cold and arid events registered in palaeolimnological records on the European continent. In general, the multi-proxy record reflects a nutrient rich lake, where changes in mixing regime associated with climatic forcing and lake level changes asserted a major impact on the aquatic assemblages. The changes in the aquatic assemblages reflect the major patterns of climate change that took place during the Eemian in northern Europe; i.e. a rapid warming and high seasonality during the early Eemian, decreased seasonality during the mid Eemian and a cooling late Eemian with increased seasonality. The high latitude Sokli Eemian palaeolake record lengthens the latitudinal extent of Eemian terrestrial records across Europe, adding to the understanding of climatic gradients and drivers over Europe.

    Read more about Development of an Eemian (MIS 5e) Interglacial palaeolake at Sokli (N Finland) inferred using multiple proxies
  • Potentials and problems of building detailed dust records using peat archives

    2016. Malin E. Kylander (et al.). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 190, 156-174


    Mineral dust deposition is a process often overlooked in northern mid-latitudes, despite its potential effects on ecosystems. These areas are often peat-rich, providing ample material for the reconstruction of past changes in atmospheric deposition. The highly organic (up to 99% in some cases) matrix of atmospherically fed mires, however, makes studying the actual dust particles (grain size, mineralogy) challenging. Here we explore some of the potentials and problems of using geochemical data from conservative, lithogenic elements (Al, Ga, Rb, Sc, Y, Zr, Th, Ti and REE) to build detailed dust records by using an example from the 8900-yr peat sequence from Store Mosse (the Great Bog), which is the largest mire complex in the boreo-nemoral region of southern Sweden. The four dust events recorded at this site were elementally distinct, suggesting different dominant mineral hosts. The oldest and longest event (6385-5300 cal yr BP) sees a clear signal of clay input but with increasing contributions of mica, feldspar and middle-REE- rich phosphate minerals over time. These clays are likely transported from a long-distance source (< 100 km). While dust deposition was reduced during the second event (5300-4370 cal yr BP), this is the most distinct in terms of its source character with [Eu/Eu*] UCC revealing the input of plagioclase feldspar from a local source, possibly active during this stormier period. The third (2380- 2200 cal yr BP) and fourth (1275-1080 cal yr BP) events are much shorter in duration and the presence of clays and heavy minerals is inferred. Elemental mass accumulation rates reflect these changes in mineralogy where the relative importance of the four dust events varies by element. The broad changes in major mineral hosts, grain size, source location and approximated net dust deposition rates observed in the earlier dust events of longer duration agree well with paleoclimatic changes observed in northern Europe. The two most recent dust events are much shorter in duration, which in combination with evidence of their local and regional character, may explain why they have not been seen elsewhere.

    Read more about Potentials and problems of building detailed dust records using peat archives
  • Regional deglaciation and postglacial lake development as reflected in a 74m sedimentary record from Lake Vättern, southern Sweden

    2016. Henrik Swärd (et al.). GFF 138 (2), 336-354


    The withdrawal of the Late Weichselian ice sheet and rapid isostatic uplift in southern Scandinavia led to the entrainment of large volumes of melt water within the proglacial Baltic Ice Lake (BIL). The eventual western outpost of BIL, Lake Vattern, has been a focal point for studying the dynamic retreat history of the Late Weichselian ice sheet in south central Sweden. This part of the deglacial history is described from an abundance of terrestrial studies, but, to date, no complimentary long sediment cores from Lake Vattern have been available. Here, we present the results from a unique, 74m borehole in southern Lake Vattern that recovered a Late Pleistocene to Holocene sedimentary sequence. Physical and chemical analyses of the sediment and pore water, together with geophysical mapping, reveal glacial as well as postglacial imprints implying an oscillating ice sheet margin, evidence for neotectonic activity and one or more marine incursions into the lake during deglaciation. We attribute the glaciotectonic deformation of the sediments at 54m below the lake floor to an ice readvance that likely occurred at the same time or before the advance that formed the Levene moraine (approximate to 13.8-13.4cal.kaBP). After this event, potential readvances were likely restricted to a more northerly position in the basin. We identify the final drainage of the BIL, but find evidence for an earlier marine incursion into the Vattern basin (approximate to 13.0cal.kaBP), indicating water exchange between the North Atlantic and the Baltic Ice Lake during the late Allerod.

    Read more about Regional deglaciation and postglacial lake development as reflected in a 74m sedimentary record from Lake Vättern, southern Sweden
  • Testing commonly used XRF core scanning based proxies for organic rich lake sediments and peat

    2016. Sakonvan Chawchai (et al.). Boreas 45 (1), 180-189


    X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning has become widely available for geological studies during the last decade. The data obtained from XRF core scanning, however, may be strongly influenced by the amount of organic matter, water content, density and porosity of the sediment matrix. In this study we discuss the usefulness of XRF core scanning to distinguish different kinds of organic-rich sediments and peat based on examples from tropical Lakes Kumphawapi and Nong Leng Sai in Thailand. We examined how sedimentary factors influence XRF core scanning analyses by comparing elemental and scattering ratios to lithological changes and quantitative LOI, TOC, biogenic silica (BSi) and grain-size values. Our comparison suggests that the (inc/coh) scattering ratio is of limited use as an indicator for variations in LOI and TOC in peaty gyttja or peat. In Lake Kumphawapi's sediments, Si/Ti ratios reflect clastic input associated with grain-size variations rather than BSi contents. The Ti-normalized ratios of Si, Zr, Sr, K and Rb are linked to mineral input and associated grain-size variations. We conclude that XRF core scanning of organic-rich tropical lake sediments and peat is useful to infer palaeoenvironmental conditions. However, XRF core scanning data does not stand-alone and needs to be underpinned by additional proxies.

    Read more about Testing commonly used XRF core scanning based proxies for organic rich lake sediments and peat
  • Major cooling intersecting peak Eemian Interglacial warmth in northern Europe

    2015. Karin F. Helmens (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 122, 293-299


    The degree of climate instability on the continent during the warmer-than-present Eemian Interglacial (around ca. 123 kyr ago) remains unsolved. Recently published high-resolution proxy data from the North Atlantic Ocean suggest that the Eemian was punctuated by abrupt events with reductions in North Atlantic Deep Water formation accompanied by sea-surface temperature cooling. Here we present multiproxy data at an unprecedented resolution that reveals a major cooling event intersecting peak Eemian warmth on the North European continent. Two independent temperature reconstructions based on terrestrial plants and chironomids indicate a summer cooling of the order of 2-4 degrees C. The cooling event started abruptly, had a step-wise recovery, and lasted 500-1000 yr. Our results demonstrate that the common view of relatively stable interglacial climate conditions on the continent should be revised, and that perturbations in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation under warmer-than-present interglacial conditions may also lead to abrupt and dramatic changes on the adjacent continent.

    Read more about Major cooling intersecting peak Eemian Interglacial warmth in northern Europe
  • The last termination in the central South Atlantic

    2015. Karl Ljung (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 123, 193-214


    Lake sediments and peat deposits from two basins on Nightingale Island (37 degrees S), in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, South Atlantic, have been analyzed. The studies were focused on the time period 16.2-10.0 cal ka BP, determined by 36 C-14 dates from the two sequences. A wide variety of proxies were used, including pollen and diatom analyzes, biogenic silica content, C and N analyzes, stable isotopes (C-13 and N-15), elemental concentrations and magnetic susceptibility measurements, to detect environmental changes that can be related to shifts of the circulation belts of the Southern Ocean. In addition, climate model simulations were carried out. We find that the sediments are underlain by a >2 cal ka BP long hiatus, possibly representing a dried-out lake bed. The climate simulations corroborate that the area might have been exposed to arid conditions as a consequence of the Heinrich I event in the north and a southward displacement of the ITCZ. The development on the island after 16.2 cal ka BP is determined by the position of the Subtropical Front (STF) and the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHW). The period 16.2-14.75 cal ka BP was characterized by varying influence from SHW and with STF situated south of Tristan da Cunha, ending with a humidity peak and cooler conditions. The stable conditions 14.7-14.1 cal ka BP with cool and fairly arid conditions imply that STF and SHW were both north of the islands during the first part of the Antarctic Cold Reversal. The most unstable period, 14.1-12.7 cal ka BP, indicates incessant latitudinal shifts of the zonal circulation, perhaps related to climate variability in the Northern Hemisphere and bipolar seesaw mechanisms as the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) varied. At 12.7 cal ka BP the Holocene warming began with a gradually drier and warmer climate as a result of a dampened AMOC during the Younger Dryas cooling in the north with ITCZ, STF and SHW being displaced southwards. Peak warming seems to have occurred in the earliest part of the Holocene, but this period was also characterized by humidity shifts, possibly an effect of retraction and expansion phases of SHW during AMOC variations in the north.

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  • Recommendations for using XRF core scanning as a tool in tephrochronology

    2012. Malin M Kylander (et al.). The Holocene 22 (3), 371-375


    X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning is a relatively new arrangement of a classic analytical technique which allows for non-destructive, in situ XRF analysis of sediment cores from submillimetre resolution upwards. In this contribution we explore the use of XRF core scanning for tephrochronology based on the analysis of three gyttja-rich sediment cores from the Faroe Islands. Using a combination of optical and radiographic images, analytical parameters and elemental profiles (Si, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Sr and Zr), higher concentration basaltic tephra layers (>1000 shards/cm3) were positively identified. The XRF core scanning did not capture the lower concentration (<850 shards/cm3) rhyolitic layers found in the core. The elemental data generated for the detected tephra layers using XRF core scanning was not comparable to individual shard analysis by electron microprobe. We recommend using XRF core scanning for tephra screening in order to localize depths for high-resolution subsampling and to avoid depths where sediment mixing has caused tailing/mixing of the tephra signal. At the studied site the basaltic Saksunarvatn ash as well as a tephra belonging to the Askja-S/10 ka eruption were identified.

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  • Palaeoenvironmental record of glacial lake evolution during the early Holocene at Sokli, NE Finland

    2014. Shyhrete Shala (et al.). Boreas 43 (2), 362-376


    The development of a glacial lake impounded along the retreating, northeastern ice margin of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation and environmental conditions directly following the early Holocene deglaciation have been studied in NE Finland. This so-called Sokli Ice Lake has been reconstructed previously using topographic and geomorphologic evidence. In this paper a multiproxy approach is employed to study a 3-m-thick sediment succession consisting of laminated silts grading into gyttja cored in Lake Loitsana, a remnant of the Sokli Ice Lake. Variations in the sediment and siliceous microfossil records indicate distinct changes in water depth and lake size in the Loitsana basin as the Sokli Ice Lake was drained through various spillways opening up along the retreating ice front. Geochemical data (XRF core-scanning) show changes in the influence of regional catchment geochemistry (Precambrian crystalline rocks) in the glacial lake drainage area versus local catchment geochemistry (Sokli Carbonatite Massif) within the Lake Loitsana drainage area during the lake evolution. Principal component analysis on the geochemical data further suggests that grain-size is an additional factor responsible for the variability of the sediment geochemistry record. The trophic state of the lake changed drastically as a result of morphometric eutrophication once the glacial lake developed into Lake Loitsana. The AMS radiocarbon dating on tree birch seeds found in the glaciolacustrine sediment indicates that Lake Loitsana was deglaciated sometime prior to 10 700 cal. a BP showing that tree Betula was present on the deglaciated land surrounding the glacial lake. Although glacial lakes covered large areas of northern Finland during the last deglaciation, only few glaciolacustrine sediment successions have been studied in any detail. Our study shows the potential of these sediments for multiproxy analysis and contributes to the reconstruction of environmental conditions in NE Finland directly following deglaciation in the early Holocene.

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  • Geochemical responses to paleoclimatic changes in southern Sweden since the late glacial

    2013. Malin M Kylander (et al.). Journal of Paleolimnology 50 (1), 57-70


    There is a relatively good understanding of the paleoenvironmental changes that have occurred in southern Sweden since the Late Glacial. A main exception, however, is the sedimentary response of lacustrine systems during this period of rapid climate shifts. To address this, high-resolution X-ray fluorescence core scanning, Total Organic Carbon (TOC), C/N and delta C-13 analyses were made on a core from Hasseldala Port, a paleolake in the region. Site-specific geochemical analyses documented variations in silicate inputs (Zr/Ti, Si/Ti, K/Ti and K/Rb), productivity (TOC, Ca/Ti and Sr/Ti), as well as redox conditions in the sediment (delta C-13, Mn/Ti and Fe/Ti), which were then linked to the regional climatic framework. During the Bolling/Older Dryas sediment accumulation was at its highest, particularly prior to colonization by terrestrial vegetation, and hydrological transport dominated. No clear signal of the Older Dryas was detected in the elemental chemistry. The Allerod was a period of relatively constant sediment accumulation, with the exception of during the Gerzensee oscillation when rates increased. There is evidence for increased within-lake and -catchment productivity and a change in silicate source during parts of the Allerod. As opposed to other records from the region, constant sediment accumulation rates were found during the Younger Dryas. Other proxies also suggest that this was a rather static period at Hasseldala Port. A gradual change in productivity and hydrological activity was observed from 12,000 cal year BP. The Preboreal section is rather short but the geochemical response was similar to that seen during other periods with milder climate conditions. The geochemical record archived in the sediments at Hasseldala Port was found to be the integrated result of physical erosion, landscape and soil development, vegetation changes, basin hydrology and moisture and temperature variations and it fills an important information gap in our understanding of the geochemical response of lake sediments to past climate change.

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  • Evaluating paleoproxies for peat decomposition and their relationship to peat geochemistry

    2013. Sophia V. Hansson (et al.). The Holocene 23 (12), 1666-1671


    The past decade has seen a rapid increase in interest in the biogeochemical record preserved in peat, particularly as it relates to carbon dynamics and environmental change. Importantly, recent studies show that carbon dynamics, that is, organic matter decomposition, can influence the record of atmospherically derived elements such as halogens and mercury. Most commonly, bulk density, light transmission, or carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratios are used as a proxy to qualitatively infer the degree of decomposition in peat, but do these three proxies reflect the same patterns? Furthermore, how do each of these proxies relate to other geochemical data? To address these questions, we analyzed bulk density, light transmission, and C/N ratios, as well as multielement geochemistry (wavelength-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (WD-XRF)), in three hummock cores (70 cm in length, c. 500 years) from an ombrotrophic Swedish bog. To compare the proxies, we applied principal component analysis (PCA) to identify how the proxies relate to and interact with the geochemical matrix. This was coupled with changepoint modeling to identify and compare statistically significant changes for each proxy. Our results show differences between the proxies within and between cores, indicating each responds to a different part of the decomposition process. This is supported by the PCA, where the three proxies fall on different principal components. Changepoint analysis also showed that the inferred number of changepoints and their depths vary for each proxy and core. This suggests that decomposition is not fully captured by any one of these commonly used proxies, and thus, more than one proxy should be included.

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  • High‐Resolution XRF Core Scanning Analysis of Les Echets (France) Sedimentary Sequence: New Insights from Chemical Proxies

    2011. Malin Kylander (et al.). Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (1), 109-117


    The Les Echets sediment sequence has recently been the subject of a high-resolution, multi-proxy study which revealed shifts in lake productivity linked to Greenland stadials and interstadials over the last 40 kyr (Wohlfarth et al., 2008. Rapid ecosystem response to abrupt climate changes during the last glacial period in western Europe, 40-16 ka. Geology 36:407-410). Here we present new elemental data for this sequence as acquired using an XRF core scanning system which provides in situ high-resolution, continuous, multi-element analyses. It was found that the strength of associations between the studied elements (Ti, Rb, K, Zr, Si, Ca, Sr, Mn and Fe) varied over time with changes in lake status which are ultimately driven by changes in climate. Increases in fine grained, detrital input (as indicated by Ti, Rb, K and Zr/Rb) overlap with independently established periods of lower lake productivity and are interpreted to represent more arid conditions. Several of these arid periods are coincident with low diatom concentrations and the timing of Heinrich events H4, H3 and H2. The duration of the environmental impacts linked to the H events varied based on the proxy used with the elemental data (Ti and Zr/Rb) estimating shorter events than the diatom data. Periods of lower detrital input and coarser grain sizes agreed in time with periods of higher lake productivity. The elemental data provides new insight into hydrological changes and related sediment processes within the catchment, and highlights the need for multi-element and multi-proxy approaches when reconstructing climate change using lacustrine sediment sequences. 

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  • Natural lead isotope variations in the atmosphere

    2010. Malin Kylander (et al.). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 290 (1-2), 44-53


    Stable lead (Pb) isotope data from pre-contamination peat sections has the potential to contribute to our understanding of earth system processes (e.g., atmospheric circulation, erosion, volcanic activity) in the past. Key questions arise however. Can the Pb isotopes archived in peat records be used for assessing aerosol dynamics on a hemispheric scale or do they mainly reflect inputs from local soils? What natural Pb sources are important and do contributions vary over time? In order to answer these questions we have synthesized all available Pb isotope data from pre-contamination peat sections in Europe, Australia, North America and South America. We specifically examine the spatial and temporal variability of the Pb isotope records and identify regionally important trends and Pb sources.

    A pooling of all available pre-contamination peat data generated an average natural 206Pb/207Pb background ratio of 1.21±0.05 (2σ, n=300)(206Pb/204Pb= 18.90±0.86, 207Pb/204Pb= 15.66±0.10 and 208Pb/204Pb= 38.74±0.57, n=207). The majority of the records showed limited temporal and compositional agreement, suggesting that the peat record receives mainly inputs from local (<10 km) and/or regional (10-500 km) sources. Three-isotope plots also support local and regional control and evidence a wide natural spread at some sites, particularly those located in radiogenic geological settings. A temporally synchronous isotope excursion to values between 1.16-1.18 at sites across Europe ca 4000-3000 B.C. was detected, however. While usually associated with anthropogenic sources, there are indeed natural aerosols having 206Pb/207Pb signatures as low as 1.16 as evidenced in several peat and ice core records globally. Three-isotope plots suggest that this unlikely to be a signal of mineral dust contributions, which tend to have 206Pb/207Pb ratios ≥1.19, but rather sourced to volcanic emissions. These results stress caution when using estimates of the upper continental crust to constrain natural Pb sources in, e.g., mixing equations. Considering the strong influence from local and regional sources on Pb-containing aerosols in the peat record, the assessment of aerosol dynamics at lower latitudes is likely best achieved using a compliment of archives rather than just polar ice cores, for example. 

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