VL3 Sedimentary charcoal .xls (827.5 kB)

Sedimentary charcoal data set from the Villena Paleolake (VL3 core)

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posted on 27.12.2019 by Jones, Samantha E, Burjachs, Francesc, Fernández-López de Pablo, Javier

1. Data set, and sampling methods

This data set contains the quantification of sedimentary charcoal from the VL3 record of the Villena Paleolake (Villena, Alicante, Spain). The analyzed section covers the Early and Middle Holocene section of this deposit according (Jones et al., 2018), depths between -120 a -400 cm, with centimetric sampling interval which has produced a total number of 281 samples.

2. Treatment

The samples have been treated as follows, adapting the methods published by  Rhodes (1998) and Talon et al.(1998):

  • Samples were soaked in 10% H2O2 for 12h for sediment deflocculation and to bleach non-charcoal organic material.
  • After this first step, it was noted if the samples contained shell fragments.
  • A 10% HCl solution was used in samples with high carbonate content.
  • Then samples were sieved (150µ) under a soft-water jet.
  • The samples were stored in distilled water for later counting.

3. Quantification procedures

  • Each sample was washed with distilled water, employing a 150 micron sieve.
  • The wet sample was examined under binocular microscope Stereomicroscopy CETI STEDDY-T at 40 magnification, using a reference grid with squares of different size categories (cat. 0,5; cat. 1, cat. 2, cat. 3, cat. 4  and cat. 5). The total number of examined charcoal was also calculated.
  • Each size category corresponds to one of the following area categories Cat. 0,5: 0,015625mm2; Cat. 1: 0,0625 mm2 (0,25 mm*0,25 mm); Cat. 2: 0,0125 mm2; Cat. 3: 0,25 mm2; Cat. 4: 0,5625 mm2; Cat. 5: 1 mm2. In the Excel spreadsheet, the area is multiplied by the number of fragments of each category. The sum of the areas is also calculated.
  • In addition, oocytes and insects were also counted.


  • Carcaillet, C., Bouvier, M., Fréchette, B., Larouche, A. C., Richard, P. J. H. (2001). Comparison of pollen-slide and sieving methods in lacustrine charcoal analyses for local and regional fire history. The Holocene 11 (4): 467- 476.
  • Clark, J. S. (1988). Particle motion and the theory of charcoal analysis: Source area, transport, deposition, and sampling. Quaternary Research 30 (1), 67-80.
  • Jones S.E., Burjachs, F. Ferrer-García C., Giralt, S., Schulte, L., Fernández-López de Pablo, J. (2018). A multi-proxy approach to understanding complex responses of salt-lake catchments to climate variability and human pressure: A Late Quaternary case study from south-eastern, Spain. Quaternary Science Reviews https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.12.015.

  • Ohlson, M. and Tryterud, E. 2000. Interpretation of the charcoal record in forest soils: forest fires and their production and deposition of macroscopic charcoal. The Holocene, 10(4), 529-525.
  • Rhodes, A. N. (1998). A method for the preparation and quantification of microscopic charcoal from terrestrial and lacustrine sediment cores. The Holocene 8 (1), 113-117.
  • Talon, B., Carcaillet, C., Thinon, M. (1998). Etudes pedoanthracologiques des variations de la limite superieure des arbres au cours de l'Holocene dans les Alpes françaises. Geographie physique et Quaternaire 52 (2), 195-208.