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A high-elevation MIS 5 hydrologic record using mollusks and ostracodes from Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Saxon E. Sharpe*
Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512, USA
Jordon Bright
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Corresponding author.E-mail (S.E. Sharpe), (J. Bright).


Sediments containing terrestrial and aquatic mollusks and ostracodes from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site (2705 m elevation) near Snowmass Village, Colorado, span ~130–87 ka (MIS 5e through 5b). The southeastern area of the site where taxa were recovered was a relatively fresh, shallow, well-vegetated wetland during MIS 5e through 5c time, approximately 2 m deep, with a total dissolved solids value of ~200–1000 mg L− 1. The wetland was seasonally or annually variable and groundwater discharged along the margins of the bounding moraine. Groundwater likely contributed solutes to the system and may have contributed 18O-enriched water. Based on stable isotopes from ostracode calcite (δ18OOST and δ13COST), seasonal evaporation occurred and the dissolved inorganic carbon pool was unexpectedly enriched in 13C. The mollusk and ostracode faunas changed little across the MIS 5e/5d/5c boundaries, whereas a distinct change in the ostracode fauna occurred between the deposition of Unit 11 and Unit 13, which corresponds in time to the MIS 5c/5b boundary, indicating some combination of increased surface and/or groundwater flow, a decrease in water temperature, and a freshening and a possible deepening of the wetland.

University of Washington

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