Earth Institute Research Projects

EAGER: Proof of concept: U-Th Dating of Lake-level History at Mono Basin, CA

Lead PI: Sidney Rasbury Hemming , Xianfeng Wang , Scott Stine

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

September 2013 - August 2015
North America ; California
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The PIs are attempting a unique and novel way to characterize lake-level fluctuation and paleoclimate records from Mono Lake using newly refined C-14, U/Th and 40Ar/39Ar methods. These methods bring together an interdisciplinary team that will address this high risk problem. By documenting and characterizing this hydrographically closed basin, a greater understanding of regional climate variations can be made and this new approach can be used in characterizing other similar basins in space and time. In addition, Mono Lake is a sensitive environment and plays a critical role in the hydrology of the Imperial and Central Valley of California, which is an economically important area. This project is appropriate for an EAGER because it 1) uses a new and refined technique to date these sediments, 2) is high risk because it is uncertain that this might be achievable, 3) brings together an interdisciplinary team to address this problem and 4) if successful, can be used for other systems like this one and be broadly applied to our understanding of the climate history in this region.