Late Quaternary spring-fed deposits of the Grand Canyon and their implication for deep lava-dammed lakes

Darrell S Kaufman, Gary O'Brien, Jim I. Mead, Jordon Bright, Paul J Umhoefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One of the most intriguing episodes in the Quaternary evolution of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona, was the development of vast lakes that are thought to have backed up behind lava erupted into the gorge. Stratigraphic evidence for these deep lava-dammed lakes is expectedly sparse. Possible lacustrine deposits at six areas in the eastern canyon yielded no compelling evidence for sediment deposited in a deep lake. At two of the sites the sediment was associated with late Quaternary spring-fed pools and marshes. Water-lain silt and sand at lower Havasu Creek was deposited ~3000 cal yr ago. The deposit contains an ostracode assemblage similar to that living in the modern travertine-dammed pools adjacent to the outcrop. The second deposit, at Lees Ferry, formed in a spring-fed marsh ~43,000 cal yr ago, as determined by 14C and amino acid geochronology. It contains abundant ostracode and mollusk fossils, the richest assemblages reported from the Grand Canyon to date. Our interpretation of these sediments as spring-fed deposits, and their relative youth, provides an alternative to the conventional view that deposits like these were formed in deep lava-dammed lakes that filled the Grand Canyon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2002

Fingerprint

lava
canyon
lake
ostracod
marsh
sediment
travertine
gorge
geochronology
lacustrine deposit
silt
outcrop
amino acid
fossil
sand
Sediment
river
Assemblages
water
Amino Acids

Keywords

  • Amino acid geochronology
  • Arizona
  • Grand Canyon
  • Lava dammed lake
  • Mollusks
  • Ostracodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Late Quaternary spring-fed deposits of the Grand Canyon and their implication for deep lava-dammed lakes. / Kaufman, Darrell S; O'Brien, Gary; Mead, Jim I.; Bright, Jordon; Umhoefer, Paul J.

In: Quaternary Research, Vol. 58, No. 3, 11.2002, p. 329-340.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ed8a73c7780941e7b3866113e023091e,
title = "Late Quaternary spring-fed deposits of the Grand Canyon and their implication for deep lava-dammed lakes",
abstract = "One of the most intriguing episodes in the Quaternary evolution of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona, was the development of vast lakes that are thought to have backed up behind lava erupted into the gorge. Stratigraphic evidence for these deep lava-dammed lakes is expectedly sparse. Possible lacustrine deposits at six areas in the eastern canyon yielded no compelling evidence for sediment deposited in a deep lake. At two of the sites the sediment was associated with late Quaternary spring-fed pools and marshes. Water-lain silt and sand at lower Havasu Creek was deposited ~3000 cal yr ago. The deposit contains an ostracode assemblage similar to that living in the modern travertine-dammed pools adjacent to the outcrop. The second deposit, at Lees Ferry, formed in a spring-fed marsh ~43,000 cal yr ago, as determined by 14C and amino acid geochronology. It contains abundant ostracode and mollusk fossils, the richest assemblages reported from the Grand Canyon to date. Our interpretation of these sediments as spring-fed deposits, and their relative youth, provides an alternative to the conventional view that deposits like these were formed in deep lava-dammed lakes that filled the Grand Canyon.",
keywords = "Amino acid geochronology, Arizona, Grand Canyon, Lava dammed lake, Mollusks, Ostracodes",
author = "Kaufman, {Darrell S} and Gary O'Brien and Mead, {Jim I.} and Jordon Bright and Umhoefer, {Paul J}",
year = "2002",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1006/qres.2002.2375",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "329--340",
journal = "Quaternary Research",
issn = "0033-5894",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Late Quaternary spring-fed deposits of the Grand Canyon and their implication for deep lava-dammed lakes

AU - Kaufman, Darrell S

AU - O'Brien, Gary

AU - Mead, Jim I.

AU - Bright, Jordon

AU - Umhoefer, Paul J

PY - 2002/11

Y1 - 2002/11

N2 - One of the most intriguing episodes in the Quaternary evolution of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona, was the development of vast lakes that are thought to have backed up behind lava erupted into the gorge. Stratigraphic evidence for these deep lava-dammed lakes is expectedly sparse. Possible lacustrine deposits at six areas in the eastern canyon yielded no compelling evidence for sediment deposited in a deep lake. At two of the sites the sediment was associated with late Quaternary spring-fed pools and marshes. Water-lain silt and sand at lower Havasu Creek was deposited ~3000 cal yr ago. The deposit contains an ostracode assemblage similar to that living in the modern travertine-dammed pools adjacent to the outcrop. The second deposit, at Lees Ferry, formed in a spring-fed marsh ~43,000 cal yr ago, as determined by 14C and amino acid geochronology. It contains abundant ostracode and mollusk fossils, the richest assemblages reported from the Grand Canyon to date. Our interpretation of these sediments as spring-fed deposits, and their relative youth, provides an alternative to the conventional view that deposits like these were formed in deep lava-dammed lakes that filled the Grand Canyon.

AB - One of the most intriguing episodes in the Quaternary evolution of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, Arizona, was the development of vast lakes that are thought to have backed up behind lava erupted into the gorge. Stratigraphic evidence for these deep lava-dammed lakes is expectedly sparse. Possible lacustrine deposits at six areas in the eastern canyon yielded no compelling evidence for sediment deposited in a deep lake. At two of the sites the sediment was associated with late Quaternary spring-fed pools and marshes. Water-lain silt and sand at lower Havasu Creek was deposited ~3000 cal yr ago. The deposit contains an ostracode assemblage similar to that living in the modern travertine-dammed pools adjacent to the outcrop. The second deposit, at Lees Ferry, formed in a spring-fed marsh ~43,000 cal yr ago, as determined by 14C and amino acid geochronology. It contains abundant ostracode and mollusk fossils, the richest assemblages reported from the Grand Canyon to date. Our interpretation of these sediments as spring-fed deposits, and their relative youth, provides an alternative to the conventional view that deposits like these were formed in deep lava-dammed lakes that filled the Grand Canyon.

KW - Amino acid geochronology

KW - Arizona

KW - Grand Canyon

KW - Lava dammed lake

KW - Mollusks

KW - Ostracodes

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036870347&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036870347&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1006/qres.2002.2375

DO - 10.1006/qres.2002.2375

M3 - Article

VL - 58

SP - 329

EP - 340

JO - Quaternary Research

JF - Quaternary Research

SN - 0033-5894

IS - 3

ER -