Late Quaternary palaeoclimatic reconstruction from the lacustrine sediments of the Sambhar playa core, Thar Desert margin, India

R. Sinha*, W. Smykatz-Kloss, D. Stüben, S. P. Harrison, Z. Berner, U. Kramar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Sambhar playa in Rajasthan, India, located at the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert, records multiple phases of clastic- and evaporite-dominated deposition as revealed from a ∼ 23 m deep core drilled in the center of the playa. Seven evaporite facies, identified from the mineralogical data, reflect variable brine chemistry throughout the history of the playa. The complete absence of gypsum-rich facies in the upper 5 m and dominance of carbonate- and gypsum-rich facies in the lower parts of the core reflect fluctuations in salinity level induced by climate change. Stable isotope data on carbonates (δ18O values) correlate with the [MgO/(MgO + CaO)] ratio, geochemical ratios (Na/Al, Na/Ti, Na/K) and the evaporite mineralogy. These data, coupled with AMS chronology of the organic fraction of the core sediments, have been integrated to interpret evaporation/inflow ratios which reflect humid and arid climatic conditions. Our data reconstruct the palaeoclimatic fluctuations in the Thar Desert margin for the last 30 ka and show significant spatial variation from the available lacustrine records from the Thar Desert. The Sambhar playa does not show any evidence of complete desiccation throughout its history although we record arid phases during the LGM and between ca. 7500 and 6800 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-270
Number of pages19
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume233
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2006

Keywords

  • Evaporite facies
  • Lacustrine carbonates
  • Playa sedimentology
  • Quaternary climate
  • Saline lakes
  • Thar Desert

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