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Stable Isotope Studies on Mono Lake (California). 1 δ18O in Lake Sediments as Proxy for Climatic Change During the Last 150 Years

Mono Lake is a hypersaline, alkaline lake in the Mono Basin located at the eastern based of the California Sierra Nevada. Its lake-level history since 1912 has been recorded instrumentally, showing the decline of lake-surface elevations initiated by the 1941 artificial diversion of stream inflow.... Full description

1st Person: Li, Hong-Chun
Additional Persons: Ku, Teh-Lung; Stott, Lowell D.; Anderson, Robert F.
Source: in Limnology and Oceanography Vol. 42, No. 2 (1997), p. 230-238
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Type of Publication: Article
Language: English
Published: 1997
Online: Volltext
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520 |a Mono Lake is a hypersaline, alkaline lake in the Mono Basin located at the eastern based of the California Sierra Nevada. Its lake-level history since 1912 has been recorded instrumentally, showing the decline of lake-surface elevations initiated by the 1941 artificial diversion of stream inflow. We have made high-resolution oxygen isotopic measurements on the total carbonate fraction of lake sediments and shown that the δ18O record parallels the lake-level fluctuations rather well. The measurements were carried out on sediments that had been leached with deionized water to isolate the isotopic signals of the calcium carbonate from those of pore water and water-soluble carbonate salts in the sediment. Extending the δ18O record back in time, we found that lake level changed markedly during the past 150 yr, reflecting climatic variations and resultant runoff fluctuations. Lake levels were high around 1845, 1880, and 1915 and low around 1860, 1900, and 1933. This study demonstrates that closed-basin lake sediment δ18O provides an effective means of probing past precipitation variations in arid to semiarid region such as the Great Basin in the west United States. 
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