CATENA, vol.122, pp.72-90, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
A multi-disciplinary approach was performed to investigate two compound geosols included between windblown deposits at the top, and interglacial (MIS 5) beach sediments at the bottom, located along the Alghero coast (North-western Sardinia, Italy). A sedimentological and morphological study was carried out on the profile in the field, and samples collected on the main pedomembers were subjected to several laboratory analyses, consisting of physical and chemical determinations on bulk samples, mineralogy (XRD), micromorphology on undisturbed samples (thin Section, SEM), and EDAX-micro probe analyses. Dating was performed by means of Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). The studied geosols show the evidence of a complex pedosedimentary evolution. Around 80 to 70 ka the lower geosol underwent weathering and clay illuviation (wet and warm conditions), followed by calcification-recalcification processes (dry-contrasted), and finally by strong bioturbation. Around 70 ka the onset of the glacial period (MIS 4) is marked by the deposition of a sand dune, capping the lower geosol. These results indicate that the coastal area of the central Mediterranean kept the relatively warm conditions typical of the interglacial climate for most of the Early Warm and reached cold conditions only at about 70 ka, possibly in relation to the rapid cooling of the Heinrich event H7. The upper geosol developed on colluvial material including abundant pedorelicts and reddish earth material, deposited around 50 ka. Before being buried by aeolian sand around 43 ka, this deposit underwent pedogenesis phases possibly associated to Middle Wurm interstadial events, indicating that in the study area these events were intense enough to influence pedogenesis. (c) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.