EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Early-Middle Pleistocene interglacials in the Iberian margin

Maria Fernanda Sanchez Goñi1, Dulce Oliveira2,3, César Morales-Molino4, Stéphanie Desprat1, Josue M. Polanco-Martinez5, David Hodell6, Filipa Naughton3, and Teresa Rodrigues3
Maria Fernanda Sanchez Goñi et al.
  • 1EPHE, PSL University, UMR-CNRS 5805 EPOC, Pessac, France (
  • 2CCMAR, Centro de Ciencias do Mar, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139, Faro, Portugal
  • 3Divisao de Geologia e Georecursos Marinhos, Instituto Portugues do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA), Av. Doutor Alfredo Magalhaes Ramalho 6, 1495-165, Alges, Portugal
  • 4Institute of Plant Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern, Switzerland
  • 5GECOS, IME, University of Salamanca (USAL) & Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Spain
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, UK

Interglacials older than 450,000 years ago (ka) are still poorly documented at regional and global scale limiting our knowledge of the wide range of their potential variability and the understanding of the causes of such diversity. Here we present δ18O benthic foraminifera measurements along with sea surface temperature reconstructions and pollen data from IODP site U1385, collected during Expedition 339 « Mediterranean Outflow » on the southwestern Iberian margin, for the Early-Middle Pleistocene interglacials MIS 19, 17, 15 and 13 (~800 to 400 ka). The recorded vegetation and climate changes on land have been directly compared with changes in the eastern North Atlantic subtropical gyre and the global ice volume. This comparison reveals a different structure in the evolution of the Mediterranean forest during these interglacials. The highest forest development occurred during MIS 19e and 15e but in the middle part of MIS 13 (MIS 13c). In contrast with MIS 19, 15 and 13 marked by three more or less similar Mediterranean forest expansions, MIS 17 was characterised by one strong expansion in its middle part (MIS 17c), the strongest of the last 800,000 years, occurring just before the end of the Middle Pleistocene Transition, i.e. the establishment of the strong 100-kyr glacial cycles at ~700 ka.  The duration of the first forested phase was also variable depending on the interglacial with a length of ~12,000 years during MIS 19e and 15e, ~9,000 years for MIS 13c and as long as 16,000 years for MIS 17c. Interestingly, two Mediterranean forest expansions are recorded during two phases of ice growth, MIS 19b and 15b, indicating once more the decoupling between the evolution of global ice volume and the southern European environments. The comparison of the U1385 pollen record, located below 40°N, with sequences above 40°N, for example the Lake Orhid pollen record, shows that the structure and magnitude of the interglacials are different below and above this latitude. At Montalbano Jonico, southern Italy at 40°N, the forest expansion is also very strong (80%) during MIS 17 contrasting with the limited development in Lake Orhid. At this site, MIS 19 is further marked by a strong forest development contrasting with the limited expansion of the Mediterranean forest in SW Iberia.

How to cite: Sanchez Goñi, M. F., Oliveira, D., Morales-Molino, C., Desprat, S., Polanco-Martinez, J. M., Hodell, D., Naughton, F., and Rodrigues, T.: The Early-Middle Pleistocene interglacials in the Iberian margin, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3148,, 2022.