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Holocene Fluctuations of a Meromictic Lake in Southern British Columbia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

David J. Lowe
Affiliation:
School of Science and Technology, and Geochronology Research Unit, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
John D. Green
Affiliation:
School of Science and Technology, and Geochronology Research Unit, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Tom G. Northcote
Affiliation:
Westwater Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1W5, Canada
Ken J. Hall
Affiliation:
Westwater Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1W5, Canada

Abstract

Holocene deposits of Mahoney Lake, a meromictic saline lake located in a closed basin in the semi-arid Okanagan Valley, contain evidence of frequent and marked changes in lake depth (up to >12 m/10014C yr) probably caused by short-term changes in effective precipitation. We studied a 5.45-m-long core comprising a basal layer of inorganic mud overlain by a succession of layers of calcareous laminated and nonlaminated organic mud, marl, and sand. We used Mazama tephra to adjust nine radiocarbon ages for the hardwater effect. Meromixis developed ca. 900014C yr B.P., and the lake has been episodically meromictic for about half the time since. Because of close linkages between sediments and depositional environments in meromictic and saline lakes, we infer that laminated sediments indicate meromictic conditions and high lake levels (>ca. 12 m water depth), whereas thick marl layers and nonlaminated sediments indicate nonmeromictic conditions and thus low lake levels (<ca. 8 m depth). Many of the inferred short-term climatic changes have not been identified in previous studies in northwestern North America, perhaps because of insensitive climatic proxies, inadequate temporal resolution, or discounting of anomalous findings.

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Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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