Climatic and Hydrologic Oscillations in the Owens Lake Basin and Adjacent Sierra Nevada, California

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Science  01 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5288, pp. 746-749
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5288.746


Oxygen isotope and total inorganic carbon values of cored sediments from the Owens Lake basin, California, indicate that Owens Lake overflowed most of the time between 52,500 and 12,500 carbon-14 (14C) years before present (B.P.). Owens Lake desiccated during or after Heinrich event H1 and was hydrologically closed during Heinrich event H2. The magnetic susceptibility and organic carbon content of cored sediments indicate that about 19 Sierra Nevada glaciations occurred between 52,500 and 23,500 14C years B.P. Most of the glacial advances were accompanied by decreases in the amount of discharge reaching Owens Lake. Comparison of the timing of glaciation with the lithic record of North Atlantic core V23-81 indicates that the number of mountain glacial cycles and the number of North Atlantic lithic events were about equal between 39,000 and 23,500 14C years B.P.