Late Wisconsin paleoecologic record from Swamp Lake, Yosemite National Park, California

Susan J. Smith, Scott R Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A 7.86-m sediment core from Swamp Lake in Yosemite National Park, California, provides a continuous record of environmental change over the last ca. 16,000 yr, as inferred from pollen, macrofossil, and microscopic charcoal analyses. The core stratigraphy documents late Wisconsin (Tioga stage) deglaciation between >16,000 and 13,700 yr B.P., approximately 6000-3500 yr earlier than higher-elevation Sierra Nevada records. The core includes five volcanic ash layers, chemically identified as four Mono Craters ashes and the Tsoyawata ash (Mt. Mazama, Oregon). The fossil record shows that herbs and sagebrush dominated the glacial environment at Swamp Lake. By 12,000 yr B.P., a mixed conifer forest composed of high- and mid-elevation conifers grew around the lake, suggesting a cool, wet late-glacial environment. The modern Sierra montane forest did not become established until ca. 10,400 yr B.P., when maximum charcoal concentrations and minimum fir pollen percentages indicate an early Holocene xeric period. The record suggests that a cooling trend began ca. 6500 yr B.P. and persisted until ca. 3700 yr B.P. when the modern climatic regime was established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

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swamp
glacial environment
national park
charcoal
coniferous tree
lake
ash
pollen
montane forest
volcanic ash
late glacial
deglaciation
fossil record
herb
crater
sediment core
environmental change
stratigraphy
Holocene
cooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Late Wisconsin paleoecologic record from Swamp Lake, Yosemite National Park, California. / Smith, Susan J.; Anderson, Scott R.

In: Quaternary Research, Vol. 38, No. 1, 1992, p. 91-102.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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