Late Pleistocene sedimentation in the Northern Caspian Lowland during the Early Khvalynian transgression

  • Makshaev R.R. 1
  • Svitoch A.A. 1
  • Tkach N.T. 1
  • 1 Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory-1, 119991, Moscow, Russia
Keywords: Caspian Sea, Late Pleistocene, chocolate clay, lithofacies, radiocarbon dating


Early Khvalynian basin was one of the largest in the history of the Caspian Sea during the Pleistocene. Six lithofacies (LF1-LF6) with two subfacies (LF2a-LF2b) are recognized in lower khvalynian deposits in the Lower Volga Region (the Northern Caspian Lowland). The chocolate clay deposition in the Lower Volga region corresponds to an interval between 16.4-12.7 cal ka BP. According to radiocarbon dates, the age of the Early Khvalynian stage in the Lower Volga Region is varying between 20-12.6 cal ka BP. The most density of the radiocarbon dates is between 14.1-13.5 ka ago. The interval between 14.5-14.1 ka ago is characterized by the absence of mollusc shells and deposition of massive chocolate clay. Comparison radiocarbon data of mollusc shells and lithofacies characteristics of khvalynian sediments reveal a certain pattern with the main late Pleistocene climatic events and allow us to reconstruct the depositional history during LGM to Younger Dryas at the Lower Volga Region.