Lateglacial and Holocene palaeoenvironments at Sierra La Madera, northwestern Mexico: Sharp signals of Younger Dryas and North American monsoon

Carlos Alberto Galaz-Samaniego, M. Cristina Peñalba*, Francisco Abraham Paz-Moreno, Iván Rosario Espinoza-Encinas, Kinardo Flores-Castro, Rogelio Monreal, Carlos Lizárraga-Celaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last glacial termination, the climate system experienced intense global variations whose causes and impacts are not fully defined, particularly for low latitudes. The northwestern Mexico Sky Islands present a climate-sensitive ideal setting to record palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic changes due to their physiographic complexity and location in the ecotone between temperate and tropical ecosystems. High-resolution pollen analysis and a detailed sedimentological study were conducted at the Ciénega Tonibabi tropical thorn scrub site. The 15 540–0 cal a bp nearly continuous record shows that the North Atlantic Ocean did have a cold and humid climatic influence during the glacial stages of the end of the Pleistocene, including a sharp pulse during the Younger Dryas. However, a shift to the Pacific Ocean influence occurred during the Holocene, which led to the development of the El Niño conditions prevailing today. Colder and warmer phases follow one another with higher or lower winter precipitation, including a sharp Bølling–Allerød and development and intensification of the North American monsoon. They are reflected in hydrological changes as well as in the advances, retreats and intermingling of coniferous forests and tropical thorn scrub.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the financial support provided by Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) through national fellowship 291236 to CAGS. We acknowledge the support of Universidad de Sonora through the MSc programme Maestría en Ciencias‐Geología and the Departamento de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (DICTUS). Thanks are due to Abraham Mendoza for his support with the XRD analyses, Sheila Corrales for the manufacture of thin sections for petrographic analysis, and Pablo Paz for the first revision of the English text. We are deeply grateful for thorough, critical and insightful comments by editor N. L. Balascio and three anonymous reviewers, which greatly improved the manuscript. In memory of Dr María Magdalena Ortega Nieblas.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Holocene
  • hydrology
  • last glacial termination
  • palaeoclimate
  • pollen


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