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A ~220,000-year record recovered in a 120-m-long sediment core from Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho, provides an opportunity to reconstruct climate change in the Great Basin and compare it with global climate records. Paleomagnetic data exhibit a geomagnetic feature that possibly occurred during the Laschamp excursion (ca. 40 ka). Although the feature does not exhibit excursional behavior (≥40° departure from the expected value), it might provide an additional age constraint for the sequence. Temporal changes in salinity, which are likely related to changes in freshwater input (mainly through the Bear River) or evaporation, are indicated by variations in mineral magnetic properties. These changes are represented by intervals with preserved detrital Fe-oxide minerals and with varying degrees of diagenetic alteration, including sulfidization. On the basis of these changes, the Bear Lake sequence is divided into seven mineral magnetic zones. The differing magnetic mineralogies among these zones reflect changes in deposition, preservation, and formation of magnetic phases related to factors such as lake level, river input, and water chemistry. The occurrence of greigite and pyrite in the lake sediments corresponds to periods of higher salinity. Pyrite is most abundant in intervals of highest salinity, suggesting that the extent of sulfidization is limited by the availability of SO4 2‒. During MIS 2 (zone II), Bear Lake transgressed to capture the Bear River, resulting in deposition of glacially derived hematite-rich detritus from the Uinta Mountains. Millennial-scale variations in the hematite content of Bear Lake sediments during the last glacial maximum (zone II) resemble Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) oscillations and Heinrich events (within dating uncertainties), suggesting that the influence of millennial-scale climate oscillations can extend beyond the North Atlantic and influence climate of the Great Basin. The magnetic mineralogy of zones IV–VII (MIS 5, 6, and 7) indicates varying degrees of post-depositional alteration between cold and warm substages, with greigite forming in fresher conditions and pyrite in the more saline conditions.

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