A ∼6000 yr diatom record of mid- to late Holocene fluctuations in the level of Lago Wiñaymarca, Lake Titicaca (Peru/Bolivia)

Published

Journal Article

Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017. A multidecadal-scale lake-level reconstruction for Lago Wiñaymarca, the southern basin of Lake Titicaca, has been generated from diatom species abundance data. These data suggest that ~6500 cal yr BP Lago Wiñaymarca was dry, as indicated by a sediment unconformity. At ~4400 cal yr BP, the basin began to fill, as indicated by the dominance of shallow epiphytic species. It remained somewhat saline with extensive wetlands and abundant aquatic plants until ~3800 cal yr BP, when epiphytic species were replaced by planktic saline-indifferent species, suggesting a saline shallow lake. Wiñaymarca remained a relatively shallow lake that fluctuated on a multidecadal scale until ~1250 cal yr BP, when freshwater planktic species increased, suggesting a rise in lake level with a concomitant decrease in salinity. The lake became gradually fresher, dominated by deep, freshwater species from ~850 cal yr BP. By ~80 cal yr BP, saline-tolerant species were rare, and the lake was dominated by freshwater planktic diatoms, resembling the fresh and deep lake of today. These results reveal a more dynamic and chronologically specific record of lake-level fluctuations and associated ecological conditions that provide important new data for paleoclimatologists and archaeologists, to better understand human-environmental dynamics during the mid- to late Holocene.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Weide, DM; Fritz, SC; Hastorf, CA; Bruno, MC; Baker, PA; Guedron, S; Salenbien, W

Published Date

  • September 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 88 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 179 - 192

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0287

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-5894

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/qua.2017.49

Citation Source

  • Scopus