Reconstructing postglacial hydrologic and environmental change in the eastern Kenai Peninsula lowlands using proxy data and mass balance modeling

Ellie Broadman, Darrell S. Kaufman, R. Scott Anderson, Sonya Bogle, Matthew Ford, David Fortin, Andrew C.G. Henderson, Jack H. Lacey, Melanie J. Leng, Nicholas P. McKay, Samuel E. Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite extensive paleoenvironmental research on the postglacial history of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, uncertainties remain regarding the region's deglaciation, vegetation development, and past hydroclimate. To elucidate this complex environmental history, we present new proxy datasets from Hidden and Kelly lakes, located in the eastern Kenai lowlands at the foot of the Kenai Mountains, including sedimentological properties (magnetic susceptibility, organic matter, grain size, and biogenic silica), pollen and macrofossils, diatom assemblages, and diatom oxygen isotopes. We use a simple hydrologic and isotope mass balance model to constrain interpretations of the diatom oxygen isotope data. Results reveal that glacier ice retreated from Hidden Lake's headwaters by ca. 13.1 cal ka BP, and that groundwater was an important component of Kelly Lake's hydrologic budget in the Early Holocene. As the forest developed and the climate became wetter in the Middle to Late Holocene, Kelly Lake reached or exceeded its modern level. In the last ca. 75 years, rising temperature caused rapid changes in biogenic silica content and diatom oxygen isotope values. Our findings demonstrate the utility of mass balance modeling to constrain interpretations of paleolimnologic oxygen isotope data, and that groundwater can exert a strong influence on lake water isotopes, potentially confounding interpretations of regional climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Volume107
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many people and organizations contributed to the success of this project. We thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, for their interest in this research and for assisting with field work, as well as Ed Berg, Annie Wong, Emmy Wrobleski, Abby Boak, Al Werner, and Cody Routson for assisting with sediment coring at Kelly and Hidden lakes. We are also grateful to Eric Sandberg and Molly McNally for housing our field teams and assisting with water and sediment sampling, and to Polar Field Services/CH2M Hill for outfitting our field teams. Aibhlin Ryan and Sean Stahnke completed the Kelly Lake loss-on-ignition analyses, and Dan Cameron and Jai Beeman assisted with Hidden Lake sedimentological analyses. Katherine Whitacre, Jordon Bright, and Chris Ebert assisted with preparation of the 14C samples, and staff at the UC Irvine Keck Carbon Cycle Laboratory analyzed the 14C samples. Jamie Brown assisted with water isotope analyses at the Colorado Plateau Isotope Laboratory. Staff at LacCore/CSDCO assisted with Initial Core Description. We benefited from comments and assistance from Ed Berg, Tom Ager, Dick Reger, and Jeff Pigati while finalizing our interpretations. The manuscript was improved following constructive reviews from Ben Gaglioti and an anonymous reviewer, as well as from Mary Edwards (associate editor). We thank Don Charles and other volunteers at the Neotoma Paleoecology Database for archiving our datasets. This project was funded by National Science Foundation award 1602106 to DSK, and by grants and scholarships to EB from the GSA Limnogeology Division, the Phycological Society of America, and the School of Earth and Sustainability at Northern Arizona University.

Funding Information:
Many people and organizations contributed to the success of this project. We thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, for their interest in this research and for assisting with field work, as well as Ed Berg, Annie Wong, Emmy Wrobleski, Abby Boak, Al Werner, and Cody Routson for assisting with sediment coring at Kelly and Hidden lakes. We are also grateful to Eric Sandberg and Molly McNally for housing our field teams and assisting with water and sediment sampling, and to Polar Field Services/CH2M Hill for outfitting our field teams. Aibhlin Ryan and Sean Stahnke completed the Kelly Lake loss-on-ignition analyses, and Dan Cameron and Jai Beeman assisted with Hidden Lake sedimentological analyses. Katherine Whitacre, Jordon Bright, and Chris Ebert assisted with preparation of the C samples, and staff at the UC Irvine Keck Carbon Cycle Laboratory analyzed the C samples. Jamie Brown assisted with water isotope analyses at the Colorado Plateau Isotope Laboratory. Staff at LacCore/CSDCO assisted with Initial Core Description. We benefited from comments and assistance from Ed Berg, Tom Ager, Dick Reger, and Jeff Pigati while finalizing our interpretations. The manuscript was improved following constructive reviews from Ben Gaglioti and an anonymous reviewer, as well as from Mary Edwards (associate editor). We thank Don Charles and other volunteers at the Neotoma Paleoecology Database for archiving our datasets. This project was funded by National Science Foundation award 1602106 to DSK, and by grants and scholarships to EB from the GSA Limnogeology Division, the Phycological Society of America, and the School of Earth and Sustainability at Northern Arizona University. 14 14

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2022

Keywords

  • Alaska
  • diatom oxygen isotopes
  • glacial meltwater
  • groundwater
  • Holocene
  • Kenai Peninsula
  • lake sediment
  • mass balance modeling
  • multi-proxy
  • pollen

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • SAK

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