The head of the project: Redzep N. Kurbanov
The title of the project: Chronology of the paleogeographic events of the south of the East European Plain in the Pleistocene and Holocene: new approaches and methods
Key words: Paleogeography, Pleistocene, geochronology, history of environmental evolution, Ponto-Caspian, loess-soil formation, marine transgressions and regressions, geoarchaeology
The proposed project involves the study of the history of the natural environment of the south part of East European Plain and the correlation of paleogeographic events of isolated ancient basins of Caspian Sea, connected with the World Ocean Pontian Basin as well as events of active accumulation of loess-soil formation. The project will cover research on four key areas: East Azov region, the Lower and Middle Volga region, Caucasus, Central Kuban river region. It is planned to create a chronological scheme of the history development of the natural environment of the region in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene on the basis of complex of modern methods of absolute dating and also the determination of the possibilities of using one of the most widely used approache in earth sciences based on optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). A compilation of published and previously collected information by the project participants will be used to perform these tasks. The proposed project is a logical continuation of the RSF 14-17-00705 and 17-77-10134, the work on which was performed in 2014-2019. In the course of its realization outlined an acute shortage of factual material of geochronology on the Late Pleistocene of South East European Plain, obtained on the basis of modern approaches and techniques. In this regard, it is proposed to continue these studies with an emphasis on detailed characterization of reference sections based on a thorough analysis of the substance, creating a relible absolute chronology of paleogeographic events with use of a number of independent absolute dating methods (OSL, AMC, thorium-uranium, argon-argon dating) and correlation of stratigraphic units. A geochronological schemes of the development of the environment for various genetic types of sediments of the Northern Caspian (tuberic stratum), Lower and Middle Volga (loess-soil sequences and chocolate clays of the maximum stage of the early Hvalyn transgression of the Caspian Sea), North Caucasus (moraines and slope sediments), Dry Mechetka and Khotylyovo Paleolithic sites (loess-like loams) will be developed in the study boundaries. For the first time, the most up-to-date technique will be applied for the territory of the former USSR: OSL-dating of rock fragments (pebbles, boulders, rock blocks) - rock-surface dating, which allows determining the age of events beyond the applicability of other physical and chemical methods of absolute dating (moraines, dangerous exogenous processes, catastrophic events). The study will be performed on modern analytical equipment by the organized OSL-dating group at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Institute of Geography RAS. A large part of the research team of the project is young scientists, graduate students and students conducting research in the field of geochronology of the Quaternary. The project participants have experience in scientific internships at leading geochronological laboratories, where they gained experience and skills in conducting such large-scale studies. The project will rely on existing scientific and technical connections and joint research with leading OSL laboratories of the world (Technical University of Denmark; Peking University; Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad). An analysis of history development of the region’s natural environment will make it possible to identify negative effects in the context of expected climate changes. It is supposed to publish the research results in a series of paleogeographic maps of the study area for the main stages of Late Pleistocene and Holocene (MIS 5 - MIS 1), as well as a series of articles in leading international journals. The accumulated material will allow more successful use of the financial resources of RSF and give impetus to the development of analytical methods in Russia (at the Institute of Geography RAS and Lomonosov Moscow State University) by the most efficient way, including through the involvement of students and post-graduates. The project will help to get significantly advance in the realization of OSL-dating in Russia, and will also contribute to the stabilization of the research team of OSL-dating at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Institute of Geography RAS.
The expected results
The goal of this project is to create a paleogeographic reconstruction of the history of the natural environment of the south part of the East European Plain, which will be based on an analysis of the structure of the Quaternary deposits in the reference sections of the loess-soil formation, marine Caspian and Black Sea sediments. It is planned to receive a detailed response to the major paleogeographic stages of Late Pleistocene: MIS 5e, 5c MIS, MIS 4, MIS 3, MIS 2, MIS 1 - Holocene Optimum. The above reconstruction will be based on the correlation of reference sections, using evidence-based geochronological scheme and absolute age determination of the main stratigraphic units by the modern independent methods (AMC, OSL, cosmogenic and others). An analysis of the natural environmental history will allow reconstructing the features of the transformation of the main landscape elements. The project will focus mainly on the palaeogeomorphological research – on the history of the development of coastal, erosion and aeolian processes. The event correlation and the complex paleogeographic feature for the Northern Caspian region, the Central Kuban river region, and the Eastern part of Azov region involving complex of modern methods will be performed for the first time. The independent part of the project will be studying the impact of environmental changes on the evolution of human society through creating a geochronological schemes for series of Paleolithic sites (Sukhaya Mechetka, Khotylevo). The most unsustainable types of relief will be identified on the basis of the analysis of landscape and climate changes of the past and the evolution of the relief. It is planned to give a forecast for the development of dangerous natural phenomena and processes in a changing climate: abrasion processes on the shores of the Sea of Azov, Black and Caspian Seas, ravine erosion, wind erosion, agricultural land degradation, dangerous slope activity in Caucasus, the consequences of desertification and drought, etc. An important part of the project is the development of the OSL-dating method, the producing specific dating protocols for a number of sites and types of sediments to be studied for the first time. A series of methodological articles will be prepared, in which it is planned to develop a terminology of modern research in the OSL in Russian, and reveal the possibilities of this method for solving different problems in geology, geography and archeology. The solution of these major problems corresponds to the latest international trend of research in the earth sciences.