Lake Karakul in the eastern Pamirs is a large and closed-basin lake in a partly glaciated catchment. Two parallel sediment cores were collected from 12 m water depth. The cores were correlated using XRF analysis and dated using radiocarbon and OSL techniques. The age results of the two dating methods are generally in agreement. The correlated composite core of 12.26 m length represents continuous accumulation of sediments in the lake basin since 31 ka. The lake reservoir effect (LRE) remained relatively constant over this period. High sediment accumulation rates (SedARs) were recorded before 23 ka and after 6.5 ka. The relatively close position of the coring location near the eastern shore of the lake implies that high SedARs resulted from low lake levels. Thus, high SedARs and lower lake levels before 23 ka probably reflect cold and dry climate conditions that inhibited the arrival of moist air at high elevation in the eastern Pamirs. Low lake levels after 6.5 ka were probably caused by declining temperatures after the warmer early Holocene, which had caused a reduction in water resources stored as snow, ice and frozen ground in the catchment. Low SedARs during 23–6.5 ka suggest increased lake levels in Lake Karakul. A short-lived increase of SedARs at 15 ka probably corresponds to the rapid melting of glaciers in the Karakul catchment during the Greenland Interstadial 1e, shortly after glaciers in the catchment had reached their maximum extents. The sediment cores from Lake Karakul represent an important climate archive with robust chronology for the last glacial–interglacial cycle from Central Asia.
EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut