[en] clay minerals ; weathering condition ; last interglacial ; Lake Baikal ; Siberia
[en] The clay-mineralogical record of a piston core recovered on an elevated plateau in the northern basin of Lake Baikal has been investigated for the Kazantsevo interglacial period (i.e., Eemian s.s. equivalent in northern Europe). The age model (as inferred from palaeomagnetic intensity) suggests that this stage spans ca. 128 to 117 kyr BP. Relative clay mineral abundances and clay-mineral ratios are used to reconstruct the weathering conditions within the Baikal watershed at a sub-millennial resolution, and suggest that the clay record is highly variable. A bimodal clay-data distribution is in agreement with different clay sources and/or formation between the studied glacial and interglacial periods. High amounts of smectites in the Taz glacial samples (128.7-136.4 kyr BP) may be explained by an additional source of neoformed smectites during the glacial stage. In addition to the classically used smectite/illite ratio, the mineralogical results are integrated by the calculation of a hydrolysis index that takes into account the abundance of all clay species and their sensitivity to chemical weathering. A principal components analysis (PCA) of the Baikal clay minerals allows the comparison of the clay parameters with regard to weathering conditions. Clay data are further compared (i) with diatom and pollen profiles, (ii) with pollen-based quantitative reconstructions for the same core material, and (iii) with other climate reconstructions for the Lake Baikal region and Siberia. Several features of our record are highlighted here. During the early period of the Kazantsevo interglacial (128.4-125.2 kyr BP), weathering processes remain controlled by physical reworking for more than 2 kyr after the initial transition from cold to warm conditions. Inception of chemical weathering starts only after ca. 125 kyr BP, a period coincident with the warmest conditions according to both the pollen record and by the strongest chernozem development in Siberian soils. Within the interglacial interval, the hydrolysis index displays a two-step increase, punctuated by a minimum value ca. 122 kyr BP. The increasing but irregular trend persists after the transition from the Kazantsevo interglacial to the Zyryanka glacial (similar to 117 kyr BP). Peak chemical weathering, as inferred by clay changes, lags the interglacial/ glacial transition by at least 2 kyr. This suggests that pedogenesis remains active after the interval of surface stabilization. Lake Baikal clay minerals trace the nature of the main weathering conditions within the watershed. We note any increase in physical weathering is rapidly recorded in sedimentary clay assemblages but the mineral imprint to chemical weathering changes is more gradual, lagging reconstructed climate conditions over the lake by ca. 2 kyr. 0 2007 Elsevier B.V.. All rights reserved.