Fluvial and permafrost history of the lower Lena River, north-eastern Siberia, over late Quaternary time

Schwamborn G. J., Schirrmeister L., Mohammadı A., Meyer H., Kartoziia A., Maggioni F., ...More

SEDIMENTOLOGY, vol.70, pp.235-258, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 70
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/sed.13037
  • Journal Name: SEDIMENTOLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Geobase, INSPEC, Pollution Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.235-258
  • Keywords: Lena River, north-eastern Siberia, palaeoenvironment, permafrost, Quaternary, LAPTEV SEA, ORGANIC-MATTER, DELTA, CARBON, CLIMATE, ICE, DYNAMICS, PATTERNS, HOLOCENE, TRANSPORT
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Arctic warming and permafrost thaw visibly expose changes in the landscape of the Lena River delta, the largest Arctic delta. Determining the past and modern river regime of thick deltaic deposits shaping the Lena River mouth in north-eastern Siberia is critical for understanding the history of delta formation and carbon sequestration. Using a 65 m long sediment core from the delta apex a set of sedimentological techniques is applied to aid in reconstructing the Lena River history. The analysis includes: (i) grain-size measurements and the determination of the bedload composition; (ii) X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffractometry, and magnetic susceptibility measurements and heavy mineral analysis for tracking mineral change; (iii) pH, electrical conductivity, ionic concentrations, and the delta O-18 and delta D stable isotope composition from ground ice for reconstructing permafrost formation. In addition; (iv) total and dissolved organic carbon is assessed. Chronology is based on; (vi) radiocarbon dating of organic material (accelerator mass spectrometry and conventional) and is complemented by two infrared - optically stimulated luminescence dates. The record stretches back approximately to Marine Isotope Stage 7. It holds periods from traction, over saltation, to suspension load sedimentation. Minerogenic signals do not indicate provenance change over time. They rather reflect the change from high energy to a lower energy regime after Last Glacial Maximum time parallel to the fining-up grain-size trend. A prominent minimum in the ground ice stable isotope record at early Holocene highlights that a river arm migration and an associated refreeze of the underlying river talik has altered the isotopic composition at that time. Fluvial re-routing might be explained by internal dynamics in the Lena River lowland or due to a tectonic movement, since the study area is placed in a zone of seismic activity. At the southern Laptev Sea margin, onshore continental compressional patterns are bordering offshore extensional normal faults.