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Late Pleistocene lakes and wetlands, Panamint Valley, Inyo County, California

By
A.S. Jayko
A.S. Jayko
1
U.S. Geological Survey, 3000 East Line Street, Bishop, California 93514, USA
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R.M. Forester
R.M. Forester
2
2364 S. Harlan St., Lakewood, Colorado 80227, USA
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D.S. Kaufman
D.S. Kaufman
3
Department of Geology, Northern Arizona University, Box 4099, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011, USA
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F.M. Phillips
F.M. Phillips
4
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, New Mexico 87801, USA
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J.C. Yount
J.C. Yount
5
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, MS 980, Denver, Colorado 80225, USA
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J. McGeehin
J. McGeehin
6
U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 926A, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
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S.A. Mahan
S.A. Mahan
7
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, MS 974, Denver, Colorado 80225, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Pleistocene deposits in Panamint Valley, California, document the changes in pluvial lake level, source water, and elevation of the regional groundwater table associated with climate change. The oxygen isotope stage (OIS) 2 and 6 lacustrine record is well preserved in surficial deposits, whereas the OIS 3–5 lacustrine-paludal and lacustrine record is mainly derived from an archived core sample. Amino acid racemization ratios in ostracodes and gastropods suggest that the shoreline and groundwater-discharge features that lie between ∼600 and 550 m elevation formed during one highstand, probably during OIS 6.

A fossiliferous part of the ∼100-m-deep core DH-1, which was drilled in the Ballarat Basin during the late 1950s, was resampled in this study. Comparison of DH-1 with core DH-3 from Panamint Valley and core OL-92 from Owens Lake suggests the 34–78-m-depth interval of DH-1 may span all or much of OIS 4. The microfauna from this depth interval indicate a saline marsh or shallow lacustrine environment, but not a large lake. The ostracode assemblage requires low ratios of alkalinity to calcium (alk/Ca) water likely indicative of solutes in deep regional groundwater sources rather than the high alk/Ca solutes common to the Owens River system.

OIS 2–aged sediment from surficial deposits, a shallow auger hole, and core DH-1 contain faunas, including the ostracode Limnocythere sappaensis, which require the high alk/Ca evolved solutes common to the Owens River. The elevation of the lacustrine sediments further indicates a moderate-sized saline lake around 180–200 m depth. In the northern Lake Hill basin, a saline lake persisted until at least 16 ka, and it was succeeded by fresh, groundwater-supported wetlands, which were fully developed by ca. 12,575 14C yr B.P. and which persisted until around 10,500 14C yr B.P., when the basin became a dry playa.

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GSA Special Papers

Late Cenozoic Drainage History of the Southwestern Great Basin and Lower Colorado River Region: Geologic and Biotic Perspectives

Marith C. Reheis
Marith C. Reheis
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Robert Hershler
Robert Hershler
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David M. Miller
David M. Miller
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Geological Society of America
Volume
439
ISBN print:
9780813724393
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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