δ18O of Fissurella maxima as a proxy for reconstructing Early Holocene sea surface temperatures in the coastal Atacama desert (25°S)

Carola Flores, Eugenia M. Gayo, Diego Salazar, Bernardo R. Broitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fissurella maxima is a keyhole limpet that is abundant and well preserved in archaeological shell midden sites along the coast of Chile, making it an appropriate species to use for reconstructions of past sea surface temperature (SST). In the present study we evaluate the potential of F. maxima shells as a proxy of SST by analysing δ18O of modern shells collected alive from the Atacama desert (area of Taltal, 25°S) and archaeological shells from two Early Holocene rockshelter sites: 224A and Paposo Norte 9. Reconstructed SST from modern F. maxima shells were related to SST obtained from in situ thermometers, supporting the use of this mollusc species as a paleotemperature archive. Mean SST reconstructed from Early Holocene archaeological shells (14.13 °C) was 2.86 °C cooler than mean temperature recorded in modern shells (16.99 °C). Mean SST reconstructed from modern shells was ~1.04 °C warmer than the mean temperature of in situ thermometers (15.95°C). Hence the paleo–SST data from archaeological sites 224A and Paposo Norte 9 enrich the Early Holocene nearshore paleoceanographic scenario of the Pacific coast of South America, with mean SST cooler than present-day SST. Our results validate the use of F. maxima shells as a SST proxy and contribute to a better understanding of the latitudinal distribution of the coastal upwelling regime during the Early Holocene, temporal changes in the structure of the Humboldt Current along the Holocene, and its influence on human adaptation through the prehistory of South America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume499
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Fissurella maxima
  • Oxygen stable isotope
  • Paleotemperature calibration
  • Shell carbonate
  • South–east Pacific coast
  • Temperature reconstruction

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'δ18O of Fissurella maxima as a proxy for reconstructing Early Holocene sea surface temperatures in the coastal Atacama desert (25°S)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this