Chronostratigraphy and changes of environment of Late Pleistocene and Holocene at Starunia palaeontological site and vicinity (Carpathian region, Ukraine)

Tadeusz Sokołowski, Renata Stachowicz-Rybka

Abstract


This paper presents the results of absolute dating and biostratigraphical analysis carried out for alluvial sediments of an abandoned Starunia ozokerite mine located in the Velyky Lukavets River valley, in which large mammal remains were discovered in the first half of the 20th century. The sediments build up three terrace levels. The highest one, up to 8 m high (terrace II), is likely to be associated with a stage of aggradation, as well as with a short episode of valley broadening, which occurred in the Weichselian Late Pleniglacial. The lower one, 4 m high (terrace I), is most likely to be linked with the Holocene, despite a considerable transformation of its top due to mining activity. The lower part of this terrace cover bears coarse-grained channel sediments dated to 120.6-58.9 ka BP (Eemian Interglacial?-Early Pleniglacial - OIS 5e, 4 and 3), and overbank (distal floodplain) mud with intercalations of biogenic deposits (peat, peat mud and biogenic mud). The overbank deposits are dated to 48.2-11.11 ka BP (Glinde Interstadial?-Younger Dryas, OIS 3-2) and are overlain by Holocene (OIS 1) mud and biogenic deposits. In boreholes drilled in the vicinity of the present-day river channel, younger sediments occur more frequently. These include sediments originating from the Late Weichselian overlain by Holocene sediments. However, sediments originating exclusively from the Holocene are infrequent. The deposition of sediments took place in specific conditions of a permanent saturation of the environment with brine, petroleum and thickened bitumen. In the longest period of deposition (48.2-1.27 ka BP), ephemeral swamps, ponds and lakes were developed in different parts of the floodplain. They were marked by the presence of: Juncus glaucus/effusus, J. articulatus, Typha sp., Batrachium sp., Potamogeton filliformis, Bidens tripartita, Ranunculus sceleratus and Phragmites communis, as well as by halophytic species, like: Zannichellia palustris, Triglochin maritimum, Schoenoplectus tabernemontani, Puccinelia distans and Eleocharis palustris. Rhythmic oscillations between cold and warm climatic conditions, typical of the Weichselian age and well identified in Western Europe, are here marked by the changes of plant communities (woody assemblages passing into steppe and tundra), but are not noticeably recorded in the sediments of the Velyky Lukavets River. This shows that the greatest part of the discussed period involved the formation of poorly differentiated silty overbank sediments with intercalations of biogenic sediments. However, the variability of sediments provides evidence for extreme events which occurred in the Holocene.

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