The cause of the rapid transition from lush grasslands and woodlands of the Early Glacial interstadial to Pleniglacial barrens in Europe is still a mystery. In the loess sections of Bohemia and Austria this transition is associated with thin layers of fine-grained airborne dust known as 'markers', believed to be deposited by major continental-scale dust storms. Here we present evidence that a similar, sharply delimited layer with a minimum TL age of 64.9 +/- 6.9 ka separates the autochthonous humus steppe soils from abiogenic sediments of the Achenheim 1 pedocomplex in France. The soil complex has been previously correlated on pedostratigraphic grounds with marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 5. Given its age and stratigraphic position, the dust layer correlates with the PKII marker in Bohemia. The recognition of a marker in Achenheim suggests that the development of the Early Glacial steppe soils ended abruptly not only in central Europe, but also in Alsace. France, prior to 65 ka, possibly as a result of a single continental-scale dust storm.
130ZQTimes Cited:10Cited References Count:47