Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

From saline to freshwater: The diversity of western lakes in space and time

August 12, 2021

Beginning with the nineteenth-century territorial surveys, the lakes and lacustrine deposits in what is now the western United States were recognized for their economic value to the expanding nation. In the latter half of the twentieth century, these systems have been acknowledged as outstanding examples of depositional systems serving as models for energy exploration and environmental analysis, many with global applications in the twenty-first century. The localities presented in this volume extend from exposures of the Eocene Green River Formation in Utah and Florissant Formation in Colorado, through the Pleistocene and Holocene lakes of the Great Basin to lakes along the California and Oregon coast. The chapters explore environmental variability, sedimentary processes, fire history, the impact of lakes on crustal flexure, and abrupt climate events in arid regions, often through the application of new tools and proxies.