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Thermal legacy of a large paleolake in Taylor Valley, East Antarctica, as evidenced by an airborne electromagnetic survey

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  • Krista F. Myers, Louisiana State University
  • ,
  • Peter T. Doran, Louisiana State University
  • ,
  • Slawek M. Tulaczyk, University of California at Santa Cruz
  • ,
  • Neil T. Foley, University of California at Santa Cruz
  • ,
  • Thue S. Bording
  • Esben Auken
  • Hilary A. Dugan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • ,
  • Jill A. Mikucki, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • ,
  • Nikolaj Foged
  • ,
  • Denys Grombacher
  • Ross A. Virginia, Dartmouth College

Previous studies of the lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys have attempted to constrain lake level history, and results suggest the lakes have undergone hundreds of meters of lake level change within the last 20ĝ€¯000 years. Past studies have utilized the interpretation of geologic deposits, lake chemistry, and ice sheet history to deduce lake level history; however a substantial amount of disagreement remains between the findings, indicating a need for further investigation using new techniques. This study utilizes a regional airborne resistivity survey to provide novel insight into the paleohydrology of the region. Mean resistivity maps revealed an extensive brine beneath the Lake Fryxell basin, which is interpreted as a legacy groundwater signal from higher lake levels in the past. Resistivity data suggest that active permafrost formation has been ongoing since the onset of lake drainage and that as recently as 1500-4000 years BP, lake levels were over 60ĝ€¯m higher than present. This coincides with a warmer-Than-modern paleoclimate throughout the Holocene inferred by the nearby Taylor Dome ice core record. Our results indicate Mid to Late Holocene lake level high stands, which runs counter to previous research finding a colder and drier era with little hydrologic activity throughout the last 5000 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3577-3593
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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