Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-csfzr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-25T21:28:17.815Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Late Quaternary Water-Level Variations and Vegetation History at Crooked Pond, Southeastern Massachusetts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Bryan Shuman
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912
Jennifer Bravo
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912
Jonathan Kaye
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912
Jason A. Lynch
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912
Paige Newby
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912
Thompson Webb III
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912


Sediment cores collected along a transect in Crooked Pond, southeastern Massachusetts, provide evidence of water-level changes between 15,000 cal yr B.P. and present. The extent of fine-grained, detrital, organic accumulation in the basin, inferred from sediment and pollen stratigraphies, varied over time and indicates low water levels between 11,200 and 8000 cal yr B.P. and from ca. 5300 to 3200 cal yr B.P. This history is consistent with the paleohydrology records from nearby Makepeace Cedar Swamp and other sites from New England and eastern Canada and with temporal patterns of regional changes in effective soil moisture inferred from pollen data. The similarities among these records indicate that (1) regional conditions were drier than today when white pine (Pinus strobus) grew abundantly in southern New England (11,200 to 9500 cal yr B.P.); (2) higher moisture levels existed between 8000 and 5500 cal yr B.P., possibly caused by increased meridonal circulation as the influence of the Laurentide ice sheet waned; and (3) drier conditions possibly contributed to the regional decline in hemlock (Tsuga) abundances at 5300 cal yr B.P. Although sea-level rise may have been an influence, moist climatic conditions during the late Holocene were the primary reason for a dramatic rise in water-table elevations.

Research Article
University of Washington

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Allison, T.D, Moeller, R.E, and Davis, M.B Pollen in laminated sediments provides evidence for a mid-Holocene forest pathogen outbreak. Ecology 67, (1986). 1101 1105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Almquist-Jacobson, H, Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.C, Brown, R, and Sanger, D An 8000-yr Holocene record of lake-levels at Mansell Pond, central Maine, U.S.A. The Holocene 11, (2001). 189 201.Google Scholar
Ansong, H, and Richard, P.J.H Postglacial sedimentation and water-level changes in Lac du Triangle, central Gaspe peninsula, Quebec. Geological Society of America 33rd Annual Meeting, Abstracts with Program, Northeastern Section. (1998). p. 3 Google Scholar
Bartlein, P.J, Anderson, K, Anderson, P, Edwards, M, Mock, C, Thompson, R, Webb, R, Webb, T III, and Whitlock, C Paleoclimate simulations for North America over the past 21,000 years: Features of the simulated climate and comparisons with paleoenvironmental data. Quaternary Science Reviews 17, (1998). 549 586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bhiry, N, and Filion, L Mid-Holocene hemlock decline in eastern North America linked with phytophagous insect activity. Quaternary Research 45, (1996). 312 320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cwynar, L.C, and Levesque, A.J Chironomid evidence for late-glacial climatic reversals in Maine. Quaternary Research 43, (1995). 405 413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, M.B Climatic changes in southern Connecticut recorded by pollen deposition at Rogers Lake. Ecology 50, (1969). 409 422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, M.B, and Ford, M.S Sediment focusing in Mirror Lake, New Hampshire. Limnology and Oceanography 27, (1982). 137 150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, M.B, Spear, R, and Shane, L Holocene climate of New England. Quaternary Research 14, (1980). 240 250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, R, Webb, T III The contemporary distribution of pollen in eastern North America: A comparison with the vegetation. Quaternary Research 5, (1975). 395 434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dean, W.E Jr. Determination of carbonate and organic matter in calcareous sediments and sedimentary rocks by loss on ignition: Comparison with other methods. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 44, (1974). 242 248.Google Scholar
Dearing, J.A Sedimentary indicators of lake-level changes in the humid temperate zone: A critical review. Journal of Paleolimnology 18, (1997). 1 14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Deevey, E.S Jr. A postglacial climatic chronology for southern New England. American Journal of Science 237, (1939). 691 721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Digerfeldt, G Studies on past lake-level fluctuations. Berglund, B.E Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology. (1986). Wiley, Chichester. 127 142.Google Scholar
Donnelly, J.P Evidence of late Holocene post-glacial isostatic adjustment in coastal wetland deposits of eastern North America. Wu, P Dynamics of the Ice Age Earth. (1998). GeoResearch Forum. Trans Tech Publications, Uetikon–Zuerich.Google Scholar
Faegri, K, and Iverson, J Textbook of Pollen Analysis. (1989). Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
Gaudreau, D, Webb, T III Late-Quaternary pollen stratigraphy and isochrone maps for the northeastern United States. Bryant, J, and Halloway, R.G Pollen Records of Late-Quaternary North American Sediments. (1985). American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, Dallas. 247 280.Google Scholar
Hansen, B. P, and Lapham, W. W. (1992). Geohydrology and Simulated Ground-Water Flow, Plymouth–Carver Aquifer, Southeastern Massachusetts. United States Geological Survey Water Resources Investigation Report 90-4204, Marlborough, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
Jacobson, G.L Jr., Webb, T III, and Grimm, E.C Patterns and rates of vegetation change during the deglaciation of eastern North America. Ruddiman, W.F, Wright, H.E Jr. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation. (1987). Geol. Soc. Amer, Boulder. 277 288.Google Scholar
Johnson, W.C, Webb, T III The role of blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata L.) in the postglacial dispersal of fagaceous trees in eastern North America. Journal of Biogeography 16, (1989). 561 571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lavoie, M, and Richard, P.J.H Postglacial water-level changes of a small lake in southern Quebec, Canada. The Holocene 10, (2000). 621 634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leopold, E.B Two late-glacial deposits from southern Connecticut. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 52, (1956). 863 867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Newby, P.E, Killoran, P, Waldorf, M.R, Webb, T III, and Webb, R.S 11,500 years of sediment, vegetation, and water level changes at Makepeace Cedar Swamp, southeastern MA. Quaternary Research 53, (2000). 352 368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oldale, R.N, and O'Hara, C.J New radiocarbon dates from the inner continental shelf off southeastern Massachusetts and a local sea-level rise curve for the past 12,000 yr. Geology 8, (1980). 102 106.2.0.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Overpeck, J.T, Webb, T III, and Prentice, I.C Quantitative interpretation of fossil pollen spectra: Dissimilarity coefficients and the methods of modern analogs. Quaternary Research 23, (1985). 87 108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peteet, D.M, Vogel, J, Nelson, D, Southon, J, Nickmann, R, and Heusser, L Younger Dryas climatic reversal in northeastern USA? AMS ages for an old problem. Quaternary Research 33, (1990). 219 230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Redfield, A.C Postglacial change in sea level in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Science 147, (1967). 50 55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spear, R.W, Davis, M.B, and Shane, L.C.K Late Quaternary history of low- and mid-elevation vegetation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Ecological Monographs 64, (1994). 85 109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Street-Perrott, F.A, and Harrison, S.P Lake levels and climate reconstruction. Hecht, A.D Paleoclimate Analysis and Modeling. (1985). Wiley, New York. 163 195.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Grootes, P.M, and Braziunas, T.F The GISP2 δ18O climate record of the past 16,500 years and the role of the sun, oceans, and volcanoes. Quaternary Research 44, (1995). 341 354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stuiver, M, and Reimer, P.J Extended 14C data base and revised CALIB 3.0 14C calibration program. Radiocarbon 35, (1993). 215 230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thorson, R, and Webb, R Postglacial history of a cedar swamp in southeastern Connecticut. Journal of Paleolimnology 6, (1991). 17 35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tzedakis, P.C Effects of soils on the Holocene history of forest communities, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Géographie Physique et Quaternaire 46, (1992). 113 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walker, I.R, Mott, R.J, and Smol, J.P Allerød-Younger Dryas lake temperatures from midge fossils in Atlantic Canada. Science 253, (1991). 1010 1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webb, R.S, Anderson, K.H, Webb, T III Pollen response-surface estimates of late-Quaternary changes in the moisture balance of the northeastern United States. Quaternary Research 40, (1993). 213 227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webb, T III, Bartlein, P.J, Harrison, S.P, and Anderson, K.H Vegetation, lake levels, and climate in eastern North America for the past 18,000 years. Wright, H.E Jr., Kutzbach, J.E, Webb, T III, Ruddiman, W.F, Street-Perrott, F.A, and Bartlein, P.J Global Climates since the Last Glacial Maximum. (1993). University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 415 467.Google Scholar
Webb, T III, Richard, P.J.H, and Mott, R.J A mapped history of Holocene vegetation in southern Quebec. Syllogeus 49, (1983). 273 336.Google Scholar
Winkler, M.G, and Sanford, P.R Coastal Massachusetts pond development: Edaphic, climatic, and sea level impacts since deglaciation. Journal of Paleolimnology 14, (1995). 311 336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, H.E Jr. A square-rod piston sampler for lake sediments. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 27, (1967). 957 976.Google Scholar
Yu, Z, and Andrews, J.H Holocene water levels at Rice Lake, Ontario, Canada: Sediment, pollen and plant macrofossil evidence. The Holocene 4, (1994). 141 152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yu, Z, Andrews, J.H, and Eicher, Ueli Middle Holocene dry climate caused by change in atmospheric circulation patterns: Evidence from lake levels and stable isotopes. Geology 25, (1997). 251 254.2.3.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar