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Late Holocene peat paleodust deposition in south-western Sweden - exploring geochemical properties, local mineral sources and regional aeolian activity

Jenny K. Sjöström, R. Bindler, A. Martínez Cortizas, S. Björck, S. V. Hansson, A. Karlsson, D. T. Ellerton, Malin E. Kylander.

Atmospheric mineral dust not only interacts with the climate system by scattering incoming solar radiation and affecting atmospheric photochemistry, but also contributes critical nutrients to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In a high-resolution analysis of paleodust deposition, peat development and soil dust sources, we assess the interplay between dust deposition and bog development of the Davidsmosse bog in south-western Sweden. Analyses of the 5400-year record (458 cm) included radiocarbon dating, bulk density, ash content, chemical and mineralogical composition and carbon stable isotopes, subsequently explored using principal component analysis. Fourteen dust events (DEs) were recorded (cal BP) in the peat sequence: 3580–3490; 3280; 3140; 3010–2840; 2740; 2610; 2480; 2340; 2240–2130; 1690; 1240; 960, 890–760, and 620–360. The majority of the DEs were coupled to increases in peat accumulation rates and increased nutrient content (N, P and K) suggesting that the DEs contributed with nutrients to the bog ecosystem, promoting increased accumulation. We also analyzed the chemical and mineral composition of potential mineral source deposits (separated into 6 grain-size fractions) from sites within a 4 km radius as well as aeolian dunes closer to the coast (25 km). The composition deposited on the present-day bog surface indicates that the bulk of the contemporary minerals have a local origin (<1.5 km), but the DEs may be of a more distant origin. The results also indicate that quartz and plagioclase feldspar content consistently increase with increasing grain-size, both in the source samples as well as in the peat sequence, and that the Si/Al ratio can be used to infer grain size changes in the peat. Two longer phases saw numerous DEs, between 2800 and 2130 cal BP and a stepwise increase from 960 towards 360 cal BP. The episodic character of the events, together with the inferred coarse grain size, suggest that the particles were deposited by (winter) storms. Future studies should include grain size analysis as well as a more in-depth comparison with regional paleo dust and storm records to increase knowledge on both transport processes (creep, saltation, suspension) and the climate processes driving late Holocene dust and storm events in Scandinavia.

Fig. 1. (A.) Orientation map, (B.) regional map, including the location of the current study site (black dot), (C.) quaternary deposits map, including sample locations (triangles) and Davidsmosse bog (black dot), (D.) satellite image of Davidsmosse, (E.) picture from coring location. Maps based on SGU open database (, ESRI Grey and Google satellite (2020), compiled and edited in QGIS, ver. 3.10.