Aridity events during the last 4000 years in Western Mediterranean marshes (Almenara and Benicasim marshes, E Spain)

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Facies and geochemical analysis applied to marsh deposits are useful proxies for the reconstruction of aridity for the last millennia. The comparison of facies and geochemical records among cores from the Almenara and Benicasim marshes allows to identify changes in water level (Si/Al, Al, Ca) and salinity of the feeding waters (Mg/Al, Na/Al, S/Al). These changes, in turn, represent fluctuations in the position of the saline-fresh groundwater boundary, which can be related to variations in sea level and rainfall. For the last 4000 years, three events recording higher salinity conditions (ca. 3.4 ka BP, ca. 3 ka BP and ca. 1.8 ka BP) are noticeable in the record. Comparison to other studies around the Western Mediterranean basin allows us to correlate these events to arid episodes and to identify their forcing mechanisms. These aridity events are correlative to small falls in solar activity and Surface Sea Temperature (SST) during positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) periods. Despite the small magnitude of these changes, the sensitivity of the system amplified the result providing a conspicuous signal.