26 Aug 2022
26 Aug 2022

Millennial hydrological variability in the continental northern Neotropics during MIS3-2 inferred from sediments of Lake Petén Itzá, Guatemala

Rodrigo Martínez-Abarca1, Michelle Abstein1, Philipp Hoelzmann2, David Hodell3, Mark Brenner4, Steffen Kutterolf5, Sergio Cohuo6, Laura Macario-González7, Mona Stockhecke8, Jason Curtis4, Flavio Anselmetti9, Daniel Ariztegui10, Thomas Guilderson11,12, Alexander Correa-Metrio13,14, Frederik Schenk15,16, Thorsten Bauersachs17, Liseth Pérez1, and Antje Schwalb1 Rodrigo Martínez-Abarca et al.
  • 1Institut für Geosysteme und Bioindikation, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, 38106, Germany
  • 2Institut für Geographische Wissenschaften, Physische Geographie, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, 12249, Germany
  • 3Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK
  • 4Department of Geological Sciences and Land Use and Environmental Change Institute, University of Florida, Florida, 32611, USA
  • 5GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, 24148, Germany
  • 6Tecnológico Nacional de México/I.T. de Chetumal, Chetumal, 77013 Mexico
  • 7Tecnológico Nacional de México/I.T. de la Zona Maya, Quintana Roo, 77013 Mexico
  • 8Large Lakes Observatory (LLO), University of Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota, 55812, USA
  • 9Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
  • 10Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland
  • 11Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, 94550, USA
  • 12Ocean Sciences Department, University of California–Santa Cruz, California, 95064, USA
  • 13Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico
  • 14Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Juriquilla, 76230, Mexico
  • 15Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 11418, Sweden
  • 16Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland
  • 17Institute of Geosciences, Organic Geochemistry Group, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, 24118, Germany

Abstract. We inferred hydrological changes in Lake Petén Itzá (Guatemala) during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 3-2 using geochemical (Ti, Ca/Ti+Al+Fe ratio and Mn/Fe) and mineralogical (carbonates, gypsum, quartz, clay) data from sediment core PI-2 to reconstruct changes in runoff, lake evaporation, organic matter sources and potential oxic/anoxic conditions associated with variations in water-level during the last ~59 cal ka BP. Early MIS3 (57.0–52.5 cal ka BP) was dominated by relatively wet conditions, higher lake primary productivity and anoxic waters, which persisted into the subsequent interval (52.5–39.0 cal ka BP), except for two periods of possible low water-level at 52 and 46 cal ka BP when our data suggest higher evaporation, high terrestrial organic matter input and persistent oxic conditions. Towards the end of MIS3 and start of MIS2 (39.0–23.0 cal ka BP), lake evaporation increased considerably, as did inputs of terrestrial organic matter, and waters became more oxic as water-levels dropped and the site moved from the hypolimnion to the epilimnion. These conditions reversed during the Last Glacial Maximum (23.0–18.0 cal ka BP) when runoff and lake productivity increased and waters again became anoxic as a result of rising water-levels. Refining the age-depth model for the Site PI-2 also allowed the correlation to Greenland Interstadials (GI14-2), Greenland Stadial (GS14-2) and Heinrich Stadials (HS5-1). HS and GS were characterized by increases in Ca/Ti+Al+Fe ratios and gypsum content generally indicative of drier conditions. GS13, 9 and 5 showed the driest conditions associated with the contemporaneous establishment of HS5-3, respectively. In contrast, GI show high Ti values which suggests relatively greater runoff and overall wetter conditions compared with GS and HS, with the most marked GI peaks between 40 and 30 cal ka BP. This runoff variability is in accord with shifts in the average position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and strength of the Atlantic Meridional Oceanic Circulation during the Late Pleistocene.

Rodrigo Martínez-Abarca et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-787', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Sep 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Rodrigo Martinez-Abarca, 16 Jan 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-787', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Sep 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Rodrigo Martinez-Abarca, 16 Jan 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-787', Sarah Metcalfe, 06 Nov 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Rodrigo Martinez-Abarca, 16 Jan 2023

Rodrigo Martínez-Abarca et al.

Rodrigo Martínez-Abarca et al.


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Short summary
Lake Petén Itzá, northern Guatemala, is one of the oldest lakes in the northern Neotropics. In this study, we analyzed geochemical and mineralogical data to decipher the hydrological response of the lake to climatic and environmental changes between 59 and 15 ka cal BP. We also compare the response of Petén Itzá with other regional records to discern the possible climatic factors that influenced it. Short-term climate oscillations are also detected.