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Holocene Climate in the Northern Great Plains Inferred from Sediment Stratigraphy, Stable Isotopes, Carbonate Geochemistry, Diatoms, and Pollen at Moon Lake, North Dakota

  • Blas L. Valero-Garcés (a1), Kathleen R. Laird (a1), Sherilyn C. Fritz (a2), Kerry Kelts (a1), Emi Ito (a1) and Eric C. Grimm (a3)...


Seismic stratigraphy, sedimentary facies, pollen stratigraphy, diatom-inferred salinity, stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C), and chemical composition (Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca) of authigenic carbonates from Moon Lake cores provide a congruent Holocene record of effective moisture for the eastern Northern Great Plains. Between 11,700 and 950014C yr B.P., the climate was cool and moist. A gradual decrease in effective moisture occurred between 9500 and 710014C yr B.P. A change at about 710014C yr B.P. inaugurated the most arid period during the Holocene. Between 7100 and 400014C yr B.P., three arid phases occurred at 6600–620014C yr B.P., 5400–520014C yr B.P., and 4800–460014C yr B.P. Effective moisture generally increased after 400014C yr B.P., but periods of low effective moisture occurred between 2900–280014C yr B.P. and 1200–80014C yr B.P. The data also suggest high climatic variability during the last few centuries. Despite the overall congruence, the biological (diatom), sedimentological, isotopic, and chemical proxies were occassionally out of phase. At these times the evaporative process was not the only control of lake-water chemical and isotopic composition.



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