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Paleoclimatic Inferences from a 120,000-Yr Calcite Record of Water-Table Fluctuation in Browns Room of Devils Hole, Nevada

  • Barney J. Szabo (a1), Peter T. Kolesar (a2), Alan C. Riggs (a1), Issac J. Winograd (a3) and Kenneth R. Ludwig (a1)...

The petrographic and morphologic differences between calcite precipitated below, at, or above the present water table and uranium-series dating were used to reconstruct a chronology of water-table fluctuation for the past 120,000 yr in Browns Room, a subterranean air-filled chamber of Devils Hole fissure adjacent to the discharge area of the large Ash Meadows groundwater flow system in southern Nevada. The water table was more than 5 m above present level between about 116,000 and 53,000 yr ago, fluctuated between about +5 and +9 m during the period between about 44,000 and 20,000 yr ago, and declined rapidly from +9 to its present level during the past 20,000 yr. Because the Ash Meadows groundwater basin is greater than 12,000 km2 in extent, these documented water-table fluctuations are likely to be of regional significance. Although different in detail, water-level fluctuation recorded by Browns Room calcites generally correlate with other Great Basin proxy palcoclimatic data.

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Quaternary Research
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