There are many geochemical reconstructions of environmental change in the mid and high latitudes but relatively few in the tropical latitudes, despite their considerable potential for reconstructing environmental processes that cannot be identified using more traditional proxies. Here we present one reconstruction of environmental change for the tropics. This reconstruction covers the past 50 ka using a suite of geochemical data from the high-resolution sequence of Lynch's Crater in northeast Queensland, Australia, a region highly sensitive to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity. The 23 major oxides and trace elements measured could be summarised by extracting three axes using principal components analysis (accounting for 72% of the variability). The data indicate that the greatest variability in the geochemical data accounted for erosional activity within the catchment that was associated with past changes in the frequency of ENSO activity (though this was less sensitive during wetter periods, probably as a result of buffering by high vegetation cover). The remaining variability was largely explained by elements that form complexes with organic compounds (e.g., humic acids) and those that are important nutrients for specific vegetation types (and therefore a measure of vegetation distribution). For more detailed reconstructions, further work is required to disentangle the complex controls of elements within sedimentary sequences.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.