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Reinterpretation of the Exposed Record of the Last two Cycles of Lake Bonneville, Western United States

  • William E. Scott (a1), William D. McCoy (a2), Ralph R. Shroba (a1) and Meyer Rubin (a3)

A substantially modified history of the last two cycles of Lake Bonneville is proposed. The Bonneville lake cycle began prior to 26,000 yr B.P.; the lake reached the Bonneville shoreline about 16,000 yr B.P. Poor dating control limits our knowledge of the timing of subsequent events. Lake level was maintained at the Bonneville shoreline until about 15,000 yr B.P., or somewhat later, when catastrophic downcutting of the outlet caused a rapid drop of 100 m. The Provo shoreline was formed as rates of isostatic uplift due to this unloading slowed. By 13,000 yr B.P., the lake had fallen below the Provo level and reached one close to that of Great Salt Lake by 11,000 yr B.P. Deposits of the Little Valley lake cycle are identified by their position below a marked unconformity and by amino acid ratios of their fossil gastropods. The maximum level of the Little Valley lake was well below the Bonneville shoreline. Based on degree of soil development and other evidence, the Little Valley lake cycle may be equivalent in age to marine oxygenisotope stage 6. The proposed lake history has climatic implications for the region. First, because the fluctuations of Lake Bonneville and Lake Lahontan during the last cycle of each were apparently out of phase, there may have been significant local differences in the timing and character of late Pleistocene climate changes in the Great Basin. Second, although the Bonneville and Little Valley lake cycles were broadly synchronous with maximum episodes of glaciation, environmental conditions necessary to generate large lakes did not exist during early Wisconsin time.

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W.S. Broecker A. Kaufman 1965 Radiocarbon chronology of Lake Lahontan and Lake Bonneville. II. Great Basin Geological Society of America Bulletin 76 537566

M.D. Crittenden Jr. 1963b Effective viscosity of the Earth derived from isostatic loading of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville Journal of Geophysical Research 68 55175530

A.J. Eardley V. Gvosdetsky R.E. Marsell 1957 Hydrology of Lake Bonneville and sediments and soils of its basin Geological Society of America Bulletin 68 11411201

L.H. Gile F.F. Peterson R.B. Grossman 1966 Morphologic and genetic sequences of carbonate accumulation in desert soils Soil Science 101 347360

P.C. Ives B. Levin R.D. Robinson M. Rubin 1964 U.S. Geological Survey radiocarbon dates VII Radiocarbon 6 3776

P.C. Ives B. Levin C.L. Oman M. Rubin 1967 U.S. Geological Survey radiocarbon dates IX Radiocarbon 9 505529

A. Kaufman W.S. Boecker 1965 Comparison of 230Th and 14C ages for carbonate materials from Lakes Lahontan and Bonneville Journal of Geophysical Research 70 40394054

A. Kaufman W.S. Broecker T.-L. Ku D.L. Thurber 1971 The status of U-series methods of mollusk dating Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 35 11551183

B. Marsters E. Spiker M. Rubin 1969 U.S. Geological Survey radiocarbon dates X Radiocarbon 11 210227

Q.R. Passey 1981 Upper mantle viscosity derived from the difference in rebound of the Provo and Bonneville shorelines, Lake Bonneville basin, Utah. Journal of Geophysical Research 86 11,70111,708

M. Rubin C. Alexander 1958 U.S. Geological Survey radiocarbon dates Science 127 14761487Part IV

N.J. Shackleton N.D. Opdyke 1973 Oxygenisotope and paleomagnetic stratigraphy of equatorial Pacific core V28-238: Oxygen-isotope temperatures and ice volumes on a 105 year and 106 year scale Quaternary Research 3 3955

R.I. Walcott 1970 Flexural rigidity, thickness, and viscosity of the lithosphere Journal of Geophysical Research 75 39413954

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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