Benthonic Foraminiferal Faunal and Isotopic Data for the Postglacial Evolution of the Champlain Sea
Benthonic foraminiferal faunal and isotopic data from Champlain Sea sediments (approximately 12,500 to 10,000 yr B.P. in age) in two piston cores from Lake Champlain provide a detailed, apparently continuous record of the evolution of the Champlain Sea. Cassidulina reniforme and Islandiella helenae are the dominant benthonic foraminifera during the initial phase of the Champlain Sea, and are replaced by Elphidium excavatum forma clavatum and Protelphidium orbiculare as the dominant species during the remainder of the sea's history. The oxygen-isotopic data show a gradual decrease in δ18O between approximately 12,500 and 10,900 yr B.P., followed by a more rapid decrease during the interval 10,900 to 10,000 yr B.P. The δ13C data have a similar trend as δ18O, with generally decreasing values up the section. The isotopic and faunal data suggest that nearly marine conditions were present in the initial plase of the Champlain Sea, followed by gradually decreasing salinities and increasing temperatures as the sea evolved. The beginning of the rapid isotopic decrease at approximately 10,900 yr B.P. marks the onset of the largest environmental change in the history of the Champlain Sea, probably reflecting a major pulse of meltwater from the Laurentide Ice Sheet.
Corliss, BH; Hunt, AS; Keigwin, LD
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