Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. Michael M. McGlue


Mono Lake (CA) is a hydrologically closed lacustrine basin well-known for its paleo-shorelines, which record fluctuations in water level for the last deglacial and late Holocene. Mono Lake is a sentinel of California’s water supply, situated in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range whose snowpack is a vital source of freshwater for urban and agricultural districts to the west and south. Recent droughts, floods, and wildfires show that California is threatened by climate change, but how these changes impact and get recorded by Mono Lake sediments remains poorly known. Here, we use a new radiocarbon-dated deepwater sediment core from Mono Lake to test the hypothesis that organic facies development is controlled by climate and limnological change. An integrated stratigraphic analysis of the core reveals seven lithostratigraphic units that track environmental changes from ~16-4 ka. When compared to available paleo-shoreline and shallow water core data, our results show that high amplitude lakelevel fluctuations of the late Pleistocene produce different patterns of sedimentation and organic enrichment than lower-amplitude water level changes of the early and middle Holocene. The results have implications for understanding patterns of paleo-production and hydroclimate change at Mono Lake.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)