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Palaeoflood record of the Tagus River (Central Spain) during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene

AuthorsBenito, Gerardo CSIC ORCID ; Sopeña, Alfonso CSIC ORCID; Sánchez Moya, Yolanda ; Machado, María José; Pérez-González, Alfredo
Tagus River
Issue DateAug-2003
CitationQuaternary Science Reviews 22, 1737-1756
AbstractPalaeoflood hydrology of the Tagus River (Central Spain) was reconstructed from slackwater deposits and palaeostage indicators in two canyon reaches located at El Puente del Arzobispo in the central part of the catchment (35,000 km2 in drainage area) and in Alcántara, at the lower part of the catchment (52,000 km2 in drainage area) near the Portuguese border. The palaeoflood record, with more than 80 flood events, shows clusters of floods at specific periods from 9440 to 9210 14Cyr BP (8540–8110 BC), 8500 to 8000 14Cyr BP (7500–7000 BC), 6750 14Cyr BP (5000 BC), 1200 to 950 14Cyr BP (AD 785–1205), 410 14Cyr BP (AD 1450–1500), 170 to 80 14Cyr BP (AD 1670–1950). The largest flood(s) occurred during the periods 9440 to 9210 14Cyr BP, 6750 14Cyr BP and 1200 to 950 14Cyr BP reaching minimum discharge estimates of between 4000 and 4100 m3 s−1 in the El Puente del Arzobispo reach and 13,700–15,000 m3 s−1 in the Alcántara reach. These periods with increased flood magnitude and/or frequency in the Tagus River are strongly related to increased moisture influx and winter precipitation in the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the western zone. Proxy records sensitive to winter precipitation such as lake levels and vegetation changes (indicated by pollen records) are in good agreement with the clusters of floods found in the Tagus River. This flood variability seems to correspond to changes in the prevailing atmospheric circulation pattern affecting the Iberian Peninsula.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-3791(03)00133-1
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