Skip to main content

Decadal to millennial-scale solar forcing of Last Glacial Maximum climate in the Estancia Basin of Central New Mexico

  • Kirsten M. Menking

Lacustrine sediments from the Estancia Basin of central New Mexico reveal decadal to millennial oscillations in the volume of Lake Estancia during Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) time. LGM sediments consist of authigenic carbonates, detrital clastics delivered to the lake in stream flow pulses, and evaporites that precipitated in mudflats exposed during lake lowstands and were subsequently blown into the lake. Variations in sediment mineralogy thus reflect changes in hydrologic balance and were quantified using Rietveld analysis of X-ray diffraction traces. Radiocarbon dates on ostracode valve calcite allowed the construction of mineralogical time series for the interval ~ 23,600 to ~ 18,300 ka, which were subjected to spectral analysis using REDFIT (Schulz and Mudelsee, 2002). Dominant periods of ~ 900, ~ 375, and ~ 265 yr are similar to cycles in Holocene 14C production reported for a variety of tree ring records, suggesting that the Lake Estancia sediments record variations in solar activity during LGM time. A prominent spectral peak with a period of ~ 88 yr appears to reflect the solar Gleissberg cycle and may help, along with the ~ 265 yr cycle, to explain an ongoing mystery about how Lake Estancia was able to undergo abrupt expansions without overflowing its drainage basin.

Corresponding author
* E-mail address:
Hide All
Allen, B.D., Anderson, R.Y. (1993). Evidence from Western North America for rapid shifts in climate during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science 260, 19201923.
Allen, B.D., Anderson, R.Y. (2000). A continuous, high-resolution record of late Pleistocene climate variability from the Estancia Basin, New Mexico. Geological Society of America Bulletin 112, 14441458.
Anderson, R.Y., Allen, B.D., Menking, K.M. (2002). Geomorphic expression of abrupt climate change in southwestern North America at the glacial termination. Quaternary Research 57, 371381.
Asmerom, Y., Polyak, V., Burns, S., Rassmussen, J. (2007). Solar forcing of Holocene climate: new insights from a speleothem record, southwestern United States. Geology 35, 14.
Asmerom, Y., Polyak, V., Burns, S.J. (2010). Variable winter moisture in the southwestern United States linked to rapid glacial climate shifts. Nature Geoscience 3, 114117.
Ault, T.R., Cole, J.E., Overpeck, J.T., Pederson, G.T., Meko, D.M. (2014). Assessing the risk of persistent drought using climate model simulations and paleoclimate data. Journal of Climate 27, 75297549.
Bachhuber, (1971). Paleolimnology of Lake Estancia and the Quaternary History of the Estancia Valley. (Ph.D. dissertation)University of New Mexico, central New Mexico.(238 pp.).
Benson, L.V., Currey, D.R., Dorn, R.I., Lajoie, K.R., Oviatt, C.G., Robinson, S.W., Smith, G.I., Stine, S. (1990). Chronology of expansion and contraction of four Great Basin lake systems during the past 35,000 years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 78, 241286.
Bish, D.L., Howard, S.A. (1988). Quantitative phase analysis using the Rietveld method. Journal of Applied Crystallography 21, 8691.
Bish, D.L., Post, J.E. (1993). Quantitative mineralogical analysis using the Rietveld full-pattern fitting method. American Mineralogist 78, 932940.
Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W., Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I., Bonani, G. (2001). Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the holocene. Science 294, 21302136.
Braun, H., Kurths, J. (2010). Were Dansgaard–Oeschger events forced by the sun?. The European Physical Journal Special Topics 191, 117129.
Clemens, S.C. (2005). Millennial-band climate spectrum resolved and linked to centennial-scale solar cycles. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 521531.
Damon, P.E., Jirikowic, J.L. (1992). The sun as a low-frequency harmonic oscillator. Radiocarbon 34, 199205.
Damon, P.E., Peristykh, A.N. (2000). Radiocarbon calibration and application to geophysics, solar physics, and astrophysics. Radiocarbon 42, 137150.
Damon, P.E., Sonnett, C.P. (1991). Solar and terrestrial components of the atmospheric 14C variation spectrum. Sonnett, C.P., Giampapa, M.S., Matthews, M.S. The Sun in Time University of Arizona Press, Tucson.360388.
Downs, R.T., Hall-Wallace, M. (2003). The American mineralogist crystal structure database. American Mineralogist 88, 247250.
Fairbanks, R.G., Mortlock, R.A., Chiu, T.-C., Cao, L., Kaplan, A., Guilderson, T.P., Fairbanks, T.W., Bloom, A.L., Grootes, P.M., Nadeau, M.-J. (2005). Radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based on paired 230Th/234U/238U and 14C dates on pristine corals. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 17811796.
Jiménez-Moreno, G., Fawcett, P.J., Anderson, R.S. (2008). Millennial- and centennial-scale vegetation and climate changes during the late Pleistocene and Holocene from northern New Mexico (USA). Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 14421452.
Jiménez-Moreno, G., Anderson, R.S., Atudorei, V., Toney, J.L. (2011). A high-resolution record of climate, vegetation, and fire in the mixed conifer forest of northern Colorado, USA. GSA Bulletin 123, 240254.
Kutzbach, J.E., Wright, H.E. (1985). Simulation of the climate of 18,000 years BP: results for the North American/North Atlantic/European sector and comparison with the geological record of North America. Quaternary Science Reviews 4, 147187.
Leopold, L.B. (1951). Pleistocene climate in New Mexico. American Journal of Science 249, 152168.
Menking, K.M., Anderson, R.Y. (2003). Contributions of La Niña and El Niño to middle Holocene drought and late Holocene moisture in the American Southwest. Geology 31, 937940.
Menking, K.M., Anderson, R.Y., Shafike, N.G., Syed, K.H., Allen, B.D. (2004). Wetter or colder during the Last Glacial Maximum? Revisiting the pluvial lake question in southwestern North America. Quaternary Research 62, 280288.
Peristykh, A.N., Damon, P.E. (2003). Persistence of the Gleissberg 88-year Solar Cycle Over the Last ~ 12,000 Years: Evidence From Cosmogenic Isotopes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics 108, 10.1029/2002JA009390.
Phillips, F.M., Campbell, A.R., Kruger, C., Johnson, P., Roberts, R., Keyes, E. (1992). A reconstruction of the response of the water balance in western United States lake basins to climatic change. New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute report 269, .
Poore, R.Z., Dowsett, H.J., Verardo, S. (2003). Millennial- to century-scale variability in Gulf of Mexico Holocene climate records. Paleoceanography 18, 10.1029/2002PA000868.
Schulz, M., Mudelsee, M. (2002). REDFIT: estimating red-noise spectra directly from unevenly spaced paleoclimatic time series. Computers and Geosciences 28, 421426.
Soon, W., Velasco Herrera, V.M., Selvarag, K., Traversi, R., Usoskin, I., Chen, C.-T.A., Lou, J.-Y., Kao, S.-J., Carter, R.B., Pipin, V., Severi, M., Becagli, S. (2014). A review of Holocene solar-linked climatic variation on centennial to millennial timescales: physical processes, interpretive frameworks and a new multiple cross-wavelet transform algorithm. Earth-Science Reviews 134, 115.
Steinhilber, F., Abreu, J.A., Beer, J., Brunner, I., Christl, M., Fischer, H., Heikkilä, U., Kubik, P.W., Mann, M., McCracken, K.G., Miller, H., Miyahara, H., Oerter, H., Wilhelms, F. (2012). 9400 years of cosmic radiation and solar activity from ice cores and tree rings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 59675971.
Stuiver, M., Braziunas, T.F. (1989). Atmospheric 14C and century-scale solar oscillations. Nature 338, 405408.
Stuiver, M., Braziunas, T.F. (1993). Sun, ocean, climate and atmospheric 14CO 2: an evaluation of causal and spectral relationships. The Holocene 3, 289305.
Vasiliev, S.S., Dergachev, V.A. (2002). The ~ 2400-year cycle in atmospheric radiocarbon concentration: bispectrum of 14C data over the last 8000 years. Annales Geophysicae 20, 115120.
Wang, Y.J., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., An, Z.S., Wu, J.Y., Shen, C.-C., Dorale, J.A. (2001). A high-resolution absolute-dated late Pleistocene monsoon record from Hulu Cave, China. Science 294, 23452348.
Warren, J.K. (2006). Evaporites: Sediments, Resources and Hydrocarbons. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Wilkins, D.E., Currey, D.R. (1997). Timing and extent of late Quaternary paleolakes in the Trans-Pecos closed basin, west Texas and south-central New Mexico. Quaternary Research 47, 306315.
Young, R.A. (1993). Introduction to the Rietveld method. Young, R.A. The Rietveld Method Oxford University Press, .
Zhang, W., Wu, J., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Cheng, H., Kong, X., Duan, F. (2014). A detailed East Asian monsoon history surrounding the "Mystery Interval" derived from three Chinese speleothem records. Quaternary Research 82, 154163.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed