Impacts of post-glacial lake drainage events and revised chronology of the Champlain Sea episode 13-9 ka

T. M. Cronin, P. L. Manley, S. Brachfeld, T. O. Manley, D. A. Willard, J. P. Guilbault, J. A. Rayburn, R. Thunell, M. Berke

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Lithologic, CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) sonar, paleomagnetic, stable isotopic and micropaleontological analyses of sediment cores from Lake Champlain (New York, Vermont) were used to determine the age of the post-glacial Champlain Sea marine episode, the timing of salinity changes and their relationship to freshwater discharge from mid-continent glacial lakes. Calibrated radiocarbon ages on plant material provide an improved post-glacial chronology overcoming problems from shell ages caused by carbon reservoir effects up to 1500 yr. The final drainage of glacial Lake Vermont and the inception of marine conditions occurred ∼ 13.1-12.8 ka (kiloannum, calendar years) and a sharp decrease in Champlain Sea salinity from ∼ 25 to 7-8 psu (practical salinity units) occurred approximately 11.4-11.2 ka. Reduced salinity was most likely caused by rapid freshwater inflow eastward from glacial Lake Algonquin into the Champlain Basin. The timing of inferred freshwater event coincides with the widespread climatic cooling called the Preboreal Oscillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-60
Number of pages15
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 27 May 2008


  • Abrupt climate change
  • Champlain Sea
  • Glacial lakes
  • Lake Vermont
  • Preboreal Oscillation


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