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Owens Lake has existed for most of the past 800,000 yr, but the sequence of interconnected lakes and streams of which it was often part, the Owens River cascade, last flourished during late Pleistocene time. A fluctuating, increasingly saline, terminal lake survived into the late Holocene until upstream water diversions to the Los Angeles Aqueduct began in 1913. Shoreline fragments and beach stratigraphy indicate that the lake reached its highest late Pleistocene level around 23.5 ka, during the Last Glacial Maximum, when it was fed by meltwaters from Sierra Nevada glaciers and spilled southward to Searles Lake and beyond. The...

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