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Freshwater control of ice-rafted debris in the last glacial period at Mono Lake, California, USA

  • Susan R. H. Zimmerman (a1), Crystal Pearl (a2), Sidney R. Hemming (a3), Kathryn Tamulonis (a4), N. Gary Hemming (a5) and Stephanie Y. Searle (a6)...


The type section silts of the late Pleistocene Wilson Creek Formation at Mono Lake contain outsized clasts, dominantly well-rounded pebbles and cobbles of Sierran lithologies. Lithic grains > 425 μm show a similar pattern of variability as the > 10 mm clasts visible in the type section, with decreasing absolute abundance in southern and eastern outcrops. The largest concentrations of ice-rafted debris (IRD) occur at 67–57 ka and 46–32 ka, with strong millennial-scale variability, while little IRD is found during the last glacial maximum and deglaciation.

Stratigraphic evidence for high lake level during high IRD intervals, and a lack of geomorphic evidence for coincidence of lake and glaciers, strongly suggests that rafting was by shore ice rather than icebergs. Correspondence of carbonate flux and IRD implies that both were mainly controlled by freshwater input, rather than disparate non-climatic controls. Conversely, the lack of IRD during the last glacial maximum and deglacial highstands may relate to secondary controls such as perennial ice cover or sediment supply. High IRD at Mono Lake corresponds to low glacial flour flux in Owens Lake, both correlative to high warm-season insolation. High-resolution, extra-basinal correlation of the millennial peaks awaits greatly improved age models for both records.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author at: Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550 and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA. Fax: + 1 925 423 7884. E-mail address: (S.R.H. Zimmerman).


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1 Now at: Schlumberger Carbon Services, Sugar Land TX 77478.
2 Now at: School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ 8140.



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Freshwater control of ice-rafted debris in the last glacial period at Mono Lake, California, USA

  • Susan R. H. Zimmerman (a1), Crystal Pearl (a2), Sidney R. Hemming (a3), Kathryn Tamulonis (a4), N. Gary Hemming (a5) and Stephanie Y. Searle (a6)...


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