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Abstract

This study evaluates changes in the environmental and climatic conditions in the Faiyum Oasis during the Holocene based on diatom analyses of the sediment FA-1 core from the southern seashore of the Qarun Lake. The studied FA-1 core was 26 m long and covered the time span ca. 9.000 cal. yrs BP. Diatom taxa were abundant and moderately to well-preserved throughout the core sediments. Planktonic taxa were most abundant than the benthic and epiphytic forms, which were very rare and sparsely distributed. The most dominant planktonic genera were Aulacoseira and Stephanodiscus followed by frequently distribution of Cyclostephanos and Cyclotella species. The stratigraphic distribution patterns of the recorded diatoms through the Holocene sediments explained five ecological diatom groups. These groups represent distinctive environmental conditions, which were mainly related to climatic changes through the early and middle Holocene, in addition to anthropogenic activity during the late Holocene. Comparison of diatom assemblages in the studied sediment core suggests that considerable changes occurred in water level as well as salinity. There were several high stands of the freshwater lake level during humid, warmer-wet climatic phases marked by dominance of planktonic, oligohalobous and alkaliphilous diatoms alternated with lowering of the lake level and slight increases in salinity and alkalinity during warm arid conditions evident by prevalence of brackish water diatoms.

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Studia Quaternaria

The Journal of Institute of Geological Sciences and Committee for Quaternary Research of Polish Academy of Sciences

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