A detailed luminescence chronology of the Lower Volga loess-palaeosol sequence at Leninsk

R. N. Kurbanov*, J. P. Buylaert, T. Stevens, N. A. Taratunina, V. R. Belyaev, A. O. Makeev, M. P. Lebedeva, A. V. Rusakov, D. Solodovnikov, C. Költringer, V. V. Rogov, I. D. Streletskaya, A. S. Murray, T. A. Yanina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We present a detailed luminescence chronology of the loess-palaeosol sequences in the Lower Volga region of Russia at the Leninsk site – an important palaeogeographic archive describing the climate and environmental conditions of regressive stages of the Caspian Sea. The chronology of these sediments has received very little attention compared to the under- and overlying marine deposits. The degree of bleaching was addressed by making use of the differential resetting rates of quartz and feldspar. Our results show that the quartz OSL and feldspar pIRIR50,290 signals were sufficiently bleached before deposition and uncertainties in bleaching have a negligible impact on the reliability of the luminescence ages. The combined quartz OSL and K-feldspar pIRIR50,290 chronology constrains the main stages of the Northern Caspian Lowland evolution during the Late Quaternary. During early MIS 5 (130–120 ka), the northern part of the Lower Volga was covered by a shallow brackish water estuary of the warm Late Khazarian Caspian Sea transgression. After ∼122 ka, the Volga incised the Northern Caspian Lowland surface following sea-level decrease and the start of subaerial conditions at Leninsk. Loess accumulation rate increased towards the end of MIS 5 and two palaeosols of presumably MIS 5с and MIS 5a age formed, exhibiting features evidencing a dry, cold climate, influenced by long seasonal flooding by the Volga River. Cryogenesis affecting the MIS 5a soil is a regional phenomenon and is dated to between ∼70 and 90 ka. The overlying thick Atelian loess unit formed during the cold periods of MIS 4 and MIS 3. Clear erosional features at the top of the Atelian loess are constrained by luminescence to ∼35 to ∼24 ka, allowing reconstruction of erosion of 150–200 cm of loess.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101376
JournalQuaternary Geochronology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Caspian Sea
  • Khvalynian transgression
  • Late Quaternary
  • Lower Volga loess
  • luminescence dating
  • Northern Caspian Lowland


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