Lacustrine carbonates in a 12.4-m-long core from Lower Pahranagat Lake (LPAH), southern Nevada, indicate that radiogenic isotopes of Sr and U (87Sr/86Sr and 234U/238U) preserve evidence of past variations in water sources and evolving hydrologic conditions. Sr and U isotope compositions in LPAH carbonates fall within the range defined by the three primary groundwater sources in Pahranagat Valley and reflect variable mixtures of those sources since the mid-Holocene. Compositions in the oldest sample (5.78 ka) closely match modern compositions of modern discharge from nearby springs, indicating that LPAH water was derived almost exclusively from the local volcanic aquifer. By ca. 5.3–5.2 ka, LPAH water compositions shifted sharply towards isotopic compositions observed in groundwater from the regional carbonate aquifer, indicating a marked increase in surface flow from high-volume springs discharging from the carbonate aquifer to the north. Sediments deposited between 3.08–1.06 ka indicate reduced contributions from the regional aquifer. A comparison of uranium- and oxygen-isotope values in LPAH carbonates suggests that wetter climate conditions favor increased supply from deeper, regional carbonate aquifers compared to drier conditions when contributions from shallower, local volcanic aquifers were more important.
|Title||Climate-driven mid- to late Holocene hydrologic evolution of arid wetlands documented by strontium, uranium, and oxygen isotopes from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Nevada, USA|
|Authors||Kevin M. Theissen, James B Paces|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Quaternary Research|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center|