This study describes the results of palynological analysis from shallow cores collected from the Volga Delta. The sediments studied are of Holocene to Late Pleistocene age. The results can be compared to the Pliocene "paleo"-Volga, the Productive Series of Azerbaijan. Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene deposits consist of reddish-brown clays. Channel deposits contain frequent Mesozoic reworking. The pollen and spores give an indication of vegetation change on land, particularly in relation to climate. Caspian dinocysts are restricted to low salinity waters, (within the range of 5 to 12 ‰). Salix (willow)pollen gives a proxy of channel migration over time. Tilia (lime) pollen is locally frequent and represents a climatic optimum. Aquatic pollen indicates the relative extent of reedbeds and open water habitats. The first phase of delta deposition occurred after c.7000 BP and is marked by a “flood” of brackish dinocysts, overlain by an interval with increased freshwater components. The second occurs after c.3000 BP and consists of several transgressive episodes, coinciding with increased Pinus (pine) pollen from the hinterland, and also by increased Mesozoic reworking. This suggests that the outflow of freshwater from the Volga River contributes to Caspian Sea level rise.


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