A record of mid-and late Holocene paleohydroclimate from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Great Basin

Kevin M. Theissen, Thomas A. Hickson, Ashley L. Brundrett, Sarah E. Horns, Matthew S. Lachniet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present a continuous, sediment core-based record of paleohydroclimate spanning ∼5800 cal yr BP to recent from Lower Pahranagat Lake (LPAH), a shallow, alkaline lake in southern Nevada. We apply stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C) from fine-fraction authigenic carbonate, which are sensitive recorders of hydroclimatic variability in this highly evaporative region. Additional geochemical proxies (total organic carbon, C/N, and total inorganic carbon) provide supporting information on paleoecological change in and around the lake. Our data suggest progressively wetter conditions starting at the later part of the middle Holocene and extending into the late Holocene (∼5500-3350 cal yr BP) followed by a millennial-scale dry period from ∼3150 to 1700 cal yr BP. This latter interval encompasses the 'Late Holocene dry period' (LHDP) reported by other investigators, and our data help refine the area affected in this episode. Our data also show evidence for a series of century-scale fluctuations in regional hydroclimate, including wet and dry intervals between 2350 and 1600 cal yr BP, and drier conditions over the past few centuries. Paleohydroclimate trends in the LPAH record show correspondence with those from the central Great Basin to the north, suggesting that both areas were subject to similar climatic forcings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-364
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alkaline lake
  • Authigenic carbonate
  • Great Basin
  • Late Holocene
  • Late Holocene dry period
  • Middle Holocene
  • Paleohydroclimate
  • Stable isotopic values
  • δO and δC

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • LPAH


Dive into the research topics of 'A record of mid-and late Holocene paleohydroclimate from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Great Basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this