The Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2 is considered the coldest, driest and stormiest period during the last Glacial-Interglacial cycle in large parts of Eurasia. This resulted from strongly decreased northern hemisphere temperature and related maximum extension of northern ice sheets that strongly reinforced large-scale circulation modes such as westerlies and East Asian Winter Monsoon driven by the Siberian High. Normally, this intensified circulation is reflected by maximum loess deposition in numerous loess regions spanning Europe and Asia. However, here we present a new loess record from the Caucasus region in NE-Armenia providing evidence in support of heavily reduced or even lacking loess formation during the MIS-2. Owing to implementations of comprehensible luminescence dating work and a provenance survey using rock magnetic and geochemical data, we are able to define distinct loess formation phases and to retrace sediment transport pathways. By comparing our results to other Eurasian palaeo-records, we unveil general atmospheric circulation modes that are most likely responsible for loess formation in the Southern Caucasus. Moreover, we try to test different scenarios to explain lacking loess formation during MIS-2. In line with other archive information, we suggest that loess formation was hampered by higher regional moisture conditions caused by a southward-shift of westerlies and renewed moisture absorption over the Black Sea. Our results show that modifications of MIS-2 circulation modes induced a very heterogeneous moisture distribution, particularly in the lower mid-latitudes of Eurasia producing a juxtaposition of very dry (morphodynamically active) and moderately dry (morphodynamically stable) areas.
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2022|