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A 350014C yr High-Resolution Record of Water-Level Changes in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Mark B. Abbott
Affiliation:
Department of Geosciences, Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts Box 35820, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003-5820
Michael W. Binford
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138
Mark Brenner
Affiliation:
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, Florida, 32653
Kerry R. Kelts
Affiliation:
Limnological Research Center, University of Minnesota, 220 Pillsbury Hall, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55455

Abstract

Sediment cores collected from the southern basin of Lake Titicaca (Bolivia/Peru) on a transect from 4.6 m above overflow level to 15.1 m below overflow level are used to identify a new century-scale chronology of Holocene lake-level variations. The results indicate that lithologic and geochemical analyses on a transect of cores can be used to identify and date century-scale lake-level changes. Detailed sedimentary analyses of subfacies and radiocarbon dating were conducted on four representative cores. A chronology based on 60 accelerator mass spectrometer radiocarbon measurements constrains the timing of water-level fluctuations. Two methods were used to estimate the14C reservoir age. Both indicate that it has remained nearly constant at ∼25014C yr during the late Holocene. Core studies based on lithology and geochemistry establish the timing and magnitude of five periods of low lake level, implying negative moisture balance for the northern Andean altiplano over the last 3500 cal yr. Between 3500 and 3350 cal yr B.P., a transition from massive, inorganic-clay facies to laminated organic-matter-rich silts in each of the four cores signals a water-level rise after a prolonged mid-Holocene dry phase. Evidence of other significant low lake levels occurs 2900–2800, 2400–2200, 2000–1700, and 900–500 cal yr B.P. Several of the low lake levels coincided with cultural changes in the region, including the collapse of the Tiwanaku civilization.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
University of Washington

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A 350014C yr High-Resolution Record of Water-Level Changes in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru
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