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Organic geochemical evidence of postglacial paleoenvironmental evolution of the Comeya peatland (Asturias, N Spain)

AuthorsUrbanczyk, Justyna; Bechtel, A.; Gómez Borrego, Ángeles
KeywordsMinerotrophic bog
Stable isotopes
Issue Date5-Oct-2016
CitationInternational Journal of Coal Geology 168 (Part 1): 46-54 (2016)
AbstractComeya peatland is located in Picos de Europa National Park (N. Spain) at 851 m above sea level, representing the continuous postglacial infill of a hollow (growth rate = 0.4 mm/yr) during the last 15,000 cal. yr BP. Three intervals can be distinguished in the profile: the bottom one, with ash content close to 90%, which is previous to the peatland installation in the area and is followed by an interval with oscillating ash content (30–60%) probably related to alluvial fan sedimentation. The uppermost one corresponds to the peat deposit with ash content generally close to 10%. The present day vegetation consists of Sphagnum species with herbaceous plants and heathers. The study comprises the analysis of some biomarkers with potential as palaeoenvironmental proxies quantified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, supported by bulk δ13C and δ15N isotopic. The biomarker assemblage is dominated by the n-alkanes and methyl-ketones with medium-to-high molecular weight and odd number of carbons. The biomarker ratios indicate an enrichment in Sphagnum characteristic compounds at 120–250 cm (3150–6350 cal. yr BP) reflecting more humid conditions. This episode coincides with higher C/N atomic ratio, higher values of δ13C and lower of δ15N. The wetter conditions of this interval are also shown by the depleted δD values of the n-alkane, particularly those related with mosses as (n-C23 and n-C25) and the enriched δ13C values of both n-alkanes and methyl-ketones. Segregation of δ13C values has been observed for homologues series in Comeya peat with medium molecular weight n-alkanes typical of mosses living in waterlogged environments, being enriched in δ13C values compared with higher molecular weight n-alkanes typical of woody and herbaceous plants of drier habitats. This study has shown a slight enrichment of δ13C values of methyl-ketones compared to n-alkanes, the differences being not conclusive to support a common or different origin for both compound classes.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2016.10.001
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