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Bear Lake is a long-lived lake filling a tectonic depression between the Bear River Range to the west and the Bear River Plateau to the east, and straddling the border between Utah and Idaho. Mineralogy, elemental geochemistry, and magnetic properties provide information about variations in provenance of allogenic lithic material in last-glacial-age, quartz-rich sediment in Bear Lake. Grain-size data from the silici-clastic fraction of late-glacial to Holocene carbonate-rich sediments provide information about variations in lake level. For the quartz-rich lower unit, which was deposited while the Bear River flowed into and out of the lake, four source areas are recognized on the basis of modern fluvial samples with contrasting properties that reflect differences in bedrock geology and in magnetite content from dust. One of these areas is underlain by hematite-rich Uinta Mountain Group rocks in the headwaters of the Bear River. Although Uinta Mountain Group rocks make up a small fraction of the catchment, hematite-rich material from this area is an important component of the lower unit. This material is interpreted to be glacial flour. Variations in the input of glacial flour are interpreted as having caused quasi-cyclical variations in mineralogical and elemental concentrations, and in magnetic properties within the lower unit. The carbonate-rich younger unit was deposited under conditions similar to those of the modern lake, with the Bear River largely bypassing the lake. For two cores taken in more than 30 m of water, median grain sizes in this unit range from ~6 μm to more than 30 μm, with the coarsest grain sizes associated with beach or shallow-water deposits. Similar grain-size variations are observed as a function of water depth in the modern lake and provide the basis for interpreting the core grain-size data in terms of lake level.

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