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Centennial to millennial hydroclimatic fluctuations in the humid northeast United States during the Holocene

  • Bryan N. Shuman (a1) and Sara A. Burrell (a1)

Paleoclimate records indicate that the hydroclimate of the northeast United States changed continuously during the Holocene, but the signals of multi-century variations have been difficult to distinguish from local effects and noise. Systematic replication of the signals can help diagnose the patterns of change. Here, we use ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and sediment core analyses to extend and compare the regional network of lake-level records. We reconstruct the histories of two lakes in northeast Pennsylvania, which show that multi-century hydrologic changes observed in coastal New England extended to the Susquehanna River watershed. Correlations with isotopic and marine temperature records (r>0.65) indicate that high temperatures coincided with low water at 4.9–3.8 and 2.8–2.0 ka. Widely recognized Holocene events at ca. 4.2 and 2.7 ka, therefore, may have shared similar ocean-atmosphere dynamics in this region. Low water levels in Pennsylvania from ca. 5.5–4.9 ka, however, demonstrate that other multi-century changes had different patterns. At ca. 5.5 ka, anti-phased inland and coastal hydrologic changes followed a sharp temperature decline and produced drought possibly as far inland as the Great Lakes. The long-term increase in water levels since then underscores that current pluvial conditions in the region probably lack a Holocene precedent.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author at: University of Wyoming, Department of Geology and Geophysics, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, Wyoming 82071, USA. E-mail address:
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