Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T.; Rull, V.; Trapote, M.C.; Cao, M.; Rosell-Melé, A.; Buchaca, T.; Gomà, J.; López, P.; Sigró, J.; Safont, E.; Cañellas, N.; Garcés-Pastor, S.; Giralt, S.; Corella, J.P.; Pérez-Zanón, N. Modern Analogue Approach Applied to High-Resolution Varved Sediments—A Synthesis for Lake Montcortès (Central Pyrenees). Quaternary 2020, 3, 1.
In Quaternary paleosciences, the rationale behind analogical inference presupposes that former processes can be explained by causes operating now, although their intensity and rates can vary through time. In this paper we synthesised the results of different modern analogue studies performed in a varved lake. We discuss their potential value to obtain best results from high resolution past records. Different biogeochemical contemporary processes revealed seasonality and year-to-year variability, e.g., calcite precipitation, lake oxygenation, production and deposition of pollen and phytoplankton growth. Fingerprints of the first two of these processes were clearly evidenced in the varve-sublayers and allow understanding related to past events. Pollen studies suggested the possibility of identifying and characterizing seasonal layers even in the absence of varves. Marker pigments in the water column were tightly associated with phytoplankton groups living today; most of them were identified in the sediment record as well. We observed that 50% of these marker pigments were destroyed between deposition and permanent burying. In another study, seasonality in the production/distribution of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) and derived temperature estimates were investigated in catchment soils and particles settling in the lake. The signatures of brGDGTs in depositional environments mainly were representative of stable conditions of soils in the catchment that last over decades; no brGDGTs seemed to be produced within the lake. The main contribution of this review is to show the advantages and limitations of a multiproxy modern-analogue approach in Lake Montcortès as a case study and proposing new working hypotheses for future research.