Mineralogical reconstruction of Late Pleistocene - Holocene climate and environmental changes in southern wetlands of Lake Urmia

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Earth Sciences, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Research Institute for Earth Sciences, Geological Survey of Iran (GSI),Tehran, Iran

3 3 Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie (CNRS/IRD/Aix-Marseille Univ., Avignon Université), Aix-en-Provence, France

4 Engineering Environmental Geology and Hazards Department, Geological Survey of Iran, (GSI), Tehran, Iran


To determine the effect of climate changes on current critical conditions of Lake Urmia, paleoclimate
of southern wetlands of Lake Urmia was investigated based on clay mineralogy. Kani Barazan and
Solduz wetlands on the southern margin of Lake Urmia and also the southern part of the lake have been
briefly studied in this research. A total of 24 sedimentary cores were taken for sedimentology and
mineralogy study from south to north of Lake Urmia. The clay mineralogy analysis were done by XRD
method. The main minerals in the sediments include quartz (over 40%), calcite, feldspars, mica,
dolomite and clay minerals. Chlorite and kaolinite were the main clay minerals in the southern coastal
plains of Lake Urmia. Distribution of surface samp les represents reduction of clay minerals in the
sediments from the margin to the center of the basin. This indicate that the percentage of detrital
sediments decreases and chemical sediments increase from the margin to the center. Increasing the
distance from the edge of the wetland causes it to move away from the source of the sediments. The
concentration of water salts in the central part of the basin increases. In the central part of the lake, due
to greater depth and high salinity of water, chemical sediments have been predominant and in the
margins of the lake, according to low salinity and the volume of clastic materials, this kind of sediments
have been predominant. This is consistent with the changes in other clastic minerals (quartz) in the lake.
The level of clay minerals increased from the surface to the depth of boreholes indicating a high water
level and a more warm–wet paleoclimate. According to the changes in the type of clay minerals in the
sediment sequence of the southern part of Lake Urmia, it seems that in the Late Pleistocene (20 cal ka
BP) the weather was more humid than the current conditions and the volume of clastic material to the
lake was higher.


Article Title [Persian]


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