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A 24,700-yr paleolimnological history from the Peruvian Andes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Rachel Hillyer
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901, USA Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC 27109, USA
Bryan G. Valencia
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901, USA
Mark B. Bush*
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901, USA
Miles R. Silman
Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC 27109, USA
Miriam Steinitz-Kannan
Department of Biology, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY 41099, USA
*Corresponding author. Email (M.B. Bush).


A new paleolimnological dataset from Lake Pacucha (13 °S, 3095 m elevation) in the Peruvian Andes provides evidence of changes in lake level over the past 24,700 yr. A late-glacial highstand in lake level gave way to an early-Holocene lowstand. This transition appears to have paralleled precessional changes that would have reduced insolation during the wet-season. The occurrence of benthic/salt-tolerant diatoms and CaCO3 deposition suggest that the lake had lost much of its volume by c. 10,000 cal yr BP. Pronounced Holocene oscillations in lake level included a second phase of low lake level and heightened volatility lasting from c. 8300 to 5000 cal yr BP. While a polymictic lake formed at c. 5000 cal yr BP. These relatively wet conditions were interrupted by a series of drier events, the most pronounced of which occurred at c. 750 cal yr BP. Paleolimnological changes in the Holocene were more rapid than those of either the last glacial maximum or the deglacial period.

University of Washington

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