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Book Chapter

Records of late Quaternary environmental change from high-elevation lakes in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt Range, Nevada

By
Jeffrey S. Munroe
Jeffrey S. Munroe
Geology Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753, USA
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Matthew F. Bigl
Matthew F. Bigl
Geology Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753, USA
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Annika E. Silverman
Annika E. Silverman
Geology Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753, USA
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Benjamin J.C. Laabs
Benjamin J.C. Laabs
Department of Geosciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58102, USA
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Publication history
15 November 201720 April 2018

ABSTRACT

Sedimentary records were analyzed from three lakes in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt Range of northeastern Nevada. Lakes are rare in the arid Great Basin, and these represent the highest-elevation lacustrine records from this region. The three cores cover overlapping time intervals: One, from a lake located just beyond a moraine, is interpreted to represent the Last Glacial Maximum, extending back to 26 cal ka; another extends to deglaciation ca. 14 cal ka; and the third extends to deposition of the Mazama ash, ca. 7.7 cal ka. Multiproxy analysis focused on measurements of bulk density, organic matter content, C:N ratio, biogenic silica abundance, and grain-size distribution. Depth-age models were developed using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, along with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dating of terrestrial macrofossils (wood and conifer needles), charcoal, and pollen concentrates (for deep sediment in one lake). Collectively, the three lakes record a series of discrete intervals spanning an unusually long stretch of time. These include the local Last Glacial Maximum (26.0–18.5 cal ka), local deglaciation (18.5–13.8 cal ka), the onset of biologic productivity (13.8–11.3 cal ka), early Holocene aridity (11.3–7.8 cal ka), deposition and reworking of the Mazama ash (7.8–5.5 cal ka), a neopluvial interval (5.5–3.8 cal ka), a variable late Holocene climate (3.8–0.25 cal ka), and a latest Holocene productivity spike (250 yr B.P. to the present) that may be anthropogenic. Data from all three lakes are presented, and the collective record of climate and environmental change for the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt Range is compared with other paleorecords from the Great Basin.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

From Saline to Freshwater: The Diversity of Western Lakes in Space and Time

Geological Society of America
Volume
536
ISBN electronic:
9780813795362

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