Lake Bonneville fluctuations and global climate change

Charles G. Oviatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Lake Bonneville, the largest late Pleistocene closed-basin lake in the North American Great Basin, fluctuated widely in response to changes in climate. The geochemistry and mineralogy of endogenic calcium carbonate deposited in deep water, and stratigraphic studies of shore-zone deposits, provide evidence of millennial-scale lake-level fluctuations that had amplitudes of about 50 m between 30 and 10 ka. Falling-lake events occurred at 21, 18.5-19, 17.5, 16-15.5, 14-13, and 10 ka (radiocarbon years) svnchronously with the terminations of Heinrich events H1 and H2 and other smaller scale iceberg-rafting events (a, b, c, and Younger Dryas) in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Lake Bonneville results thus support other climate records that suggest that late Pleistocene millennial-scale climate change was global in extent. The size and shape of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, which determined the mean positions of storm tracks, may have been the primary control on late Pleistocene water budgets of Great Basin lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-158
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

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