- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014
This study reports on a ~ 150 m thick macrofossil-barren sequence of siliciclastic sediments from a Burdigalian age (Early Miocene) freshwater lake. The lake was located within an incipient rift system of the Most Basin in the Ohře (Eger) Graben, which was part of the European Cenozoic Rift System, and had an original area of ≈ 1000 km2. Sediments from the HK591 core that cover the entire thickness of the lake deposits and some of the adjacent stratigraphic units were analysed by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (a proxy for element composition) and magnetic polarity measurement. The element proxies were subjected to frequency analysis, which provided estimated sedimentation rates, and allowed for sediment dating by magnetostratigraphy and orbital tuning of the age model. Based on the resulting age model and the known biostratigraphy, the lake was present between 17.4 and 16.6 Ma, which includes the onset of the Miocene Climatic Optimum in the latest Early Miocene. The identification of orbital forcing (precession, obliquity and short eccentricity cycles) confirms the stability of the sedimentary environment of the perennial lake in an underfilled basin. The dating allowed the sediment record to be interpreted in the context of the current knowledge of the European climate during that period. The stability of the sedimentary environment confirms that precipitation was relatively stable over the period recorded by the sediments.