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A record of mid- and late Holocene paleohydroclimate from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Great Basin

  • Kevin M. Theissen (a1), Thomas A. Hickson (a1), Ashley L. Brundrett (a1), Sarah E. Horns (a1) and Matthew S. Lachniet (a2)...


We present a continuous, sediment core-based record of paleohydroclimate spanning ~5800 cal yr BP to recent from Lower Pahranagat Lake (LPAH), a shallow, alkaline lake in southern Nevada. We apply stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C) from fine-fraction authigenic carbonate, which are sensitive recorders of hydroclimatic variability in this highly evaporative region. Additional geochemical proxies (total organic carbon, C/N, and total inorganic carbon) provide supporting information on paleoecological change in and around the lake. Our data suggest progressively wetter conditions starting at the later part of the middle Holocene and extending into the late Holocene (~5500–3350 cal yr BP) followed by a millennial-scale dry period from ~3150 to 1700 cal yr BP. This latter interval encompasses the ‘Late Holocene dry period’ (LHDP) reported by other investigators, and our data help refine the area affected in this episode. Our data also show evidence for a series of century-scale fluctuations in regional hydroclimate, including wet and dry intervals between 2350 and 1600 cal yr BP, and drier conditions over the past few centuries. Paleohydroclimate trends in the LPAH record show correspondence with those from the central Great Basin to the north, suggesting that both areas were subject to similar climatic forcings.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author e-mail address: (K.M. Theissen).


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A record of mid- and late Holocene paleohydroclimate from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Great Basin

  • Kevin M. Theissen (a1), Thomas A. Hickson (a1), Ashley L. Brundrett (a1), Sarah E. Horns (a1) and Matthew S. Lachniet (a2)...


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