14,000 Years of Storms Recorded in Lake Sediments
Investigators: Paul Bierman, Andrea Lini & Students

New England is dotted with lakes that filled after the last ice sheet retreated starting about 20,000 years ago. Using support from the National Science Foundation, we have cored more than a dozen of these lakes and analyzed each core in detail to determine lake sedimentation history.

Using the occurrence of discrete terrestrially-sourced layers of sediment, we have constructed sedimentation histories for each of these lakes constrained by numerous radiocarbon dates on macrofossils. The data show a periodicity in sediment delivery that we attribute to changes in storm frequency on millennial time scales. These changes mirror those found in the chemistry of Greenland ice cores and suggest that New England land surface processes (rainfall and erosion) are responding at least to regional changes in climate.

This research has been supported by the NSF and the Lintilhac Foundation.

Relevant Publications:

  • Brown, S. L., Bierman, P.R., Lini, A., and Southon, J., (2000) A 10,000 year record of extreme hydrologic events, Geology, 28, 335-338.
  • Brown, S. L., Bierman, P.R., Lini, A., Davis, P.T., Southon, J., (2002) Reconstructing lake and drainage basin history using terrestrial sediment layers: analysis of cores from a post-glacial lake in New England. Journal of Paleo Limnology. v. 28, n. 2, p. 219-236.
  • Noren, A., Bierman, P.R., Steig, E., Lini, A., and Southon, J., (2002), Millennial scale storminess variability in the northeastern United States during the Holocene epoch, NATURE, v. 419, 821-824.
  • Bierman, P., Lini, A., Davis, P.T., Southon, J., Baldwin, L., Church, A. and Zehfuss, P. (1997) Post-glacial ponds and alluvial fans: recorders of Holocene landscape history. GSA Today, 7 (10) p. 1-8.
  • Bierman, P.R. (2000) Henry's Land, in The Earth Around Us: Maintaining A Livable Planet, J. Schniederman, ed., Freeman, p. 47-56.
  • Gran, S. Nichols, K., and Bierman, P. R., (1999) Teaching winter using frozen lakes and snowy mountains, Journal of Geoscience Education. v. 47, p. 420-427.