Geography and Geology
We present the results of pollen analysis performed on an ice core recovered from Nevado Sajama, Bolivia, dated to 25 ka BP. Low pollen concentrations from 25 to 15 ka BP are consistent with the scenario of an expanded ice cap surrounded by sparse vegetation and cold conditions on the Altiplano during the Last Glacial Maximum. After 15 ka BP, more pollen is present and percentages show vegetation response to climate fluctuations during the late Pleistocene. Initially, high concentrations of Poaceae pollen are replaced by Asteraceae pollen, suggesting the occurrence of dry conditions towards the end of the Bolling-Allerod/Guantiva interstadial. A deglacial climatic reversal is registered in the pollen record by an abrupt decline in Asteraceae and maximum percentages of Poaceae, indicating wet conditions during 14-12 ka BP. The climate changed abruptly to warm and dry after 12 ka BP, but vegetation remained in disequilibrium with climate until 10 ka BP. Pollen results indicate dry conditions at the beginning of the Holocene, with humidity increasing steadily until 8.5 ka BP. Decreased pollen concentration values (used as a moisture availability proxy) place the mid-Holocene dry period between 8 and 5 ka BP. This was followed by wetter conditions to the present day.
Annals of Glaciology
(2013). An Ice-Core Pollen Record Showing Vegetation Response to Late-Glacial and Holocene Climate Changes at Nevado Sajama, Bolivia. Annals of Glaciology, 54(63), 183-190.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/7807