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Maceral composition and molecular markers of two condensed Middle Holocene peat profiles in N Spain

AuthorsLópez Días, Veneranda ; Urbanczyk, Justyna; Gutiérrez Blanco, Carlos ; Gómez Borrego, Ángeles
KeywordsRaised bog
Blanket bog
Tissue preservation index
Issue Date14-Sep-2016
CitationInternational Journal of Coal Geology 168 (Part 1): 55–70 (2016)
AbstractThis study deals with the palaeohydrological information obtained from lipids composition and vegetal tissue preservation of two peat cores from Asturias, North Spain. The two profiles differ in the type of peatland (raised bog in La Borbolla and blanket bog in Buelna) and the type of organic matter being more bryophytic in the raised bog and more herbaceous in the blanket bog. The peatlands are located close to the coast on impermeable, old flat erosion surfaces which favoured peat accumulation within a distance of 3.5 km from each other. The accumulation rate varied between 0.05 and 0.07 mm/yr and the records extend from around 9000 to 2500 cal. yr BP. The main differences between the two peat sites can be summarized as follows: the raised bog has lower mineral matter content and H/C atomic ratio and higher C/N ratio and extraction yields compared to the blanket bog. It has also a higher Tissue Preservation Index for Huminite macerals and increasing Inertodetrinite Index with depth. Regarding biomarkers, the raised bog has a relatively higher concentration of n-alkane-2-ones compared to the corresponding n-alkane of similar carbon number, higher concentration of medium- vs. high-molecular-weight-methyl-ketones and higher triterpenoids/steroids ratio than the blanket bog. Alternating humid/dry periods have been recorded in both profiles based on lipid concentrations indicating that the Sphagnum-rich intervals in the raised bog are more sensitive than the herbaceous blanket peat record to climatic variations. The main humid intervals identified are dated as 5000–7500 cal. yr BP in the blanket bog and as 6000–3500 cal. yr BP and last 2500 cal. yr BP in the raised bog and correlate with the humid periods traced in other peatlands locations in this region. The transition Middle-to-Late Holocene is characterized by humid conditions in the region which favoured the Sphagnum growth in the peats. The reflectance of huminite in these records appears to be more related with differences in the oxidative conditions than with variation of peat maturity. It is higher in the layers with high mineral matter content at the beginning of organic matter accumulation and also in the upper part of the profile subjected to seasonal desiccation. A more intense biochemical gelification coincides with higher concentration of hopanoids derived from bacteria in the upper part of the profile (acrotelm). High amount of nonadecan-2-one (K19) and high concentrations of triterpenyl acetates, which are also determined in other peat profiles from Northern Spain are also detected in these profiles. This indicates that the specific conditions required for the formation of these compounds, probably associated to wet temperate climate, dominated throughout the region.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2016.09.009
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