Two processes contribute to inaccurate 14C age estimates of carbonates precipitated within the Lahontan basin, NevadaCalifornia: low initial 14C/C ratios in lake water (reservoir effect) and addition of modern carbon to calcium carbonate after its precipitation. The mast reliable set of 14C ages on carbonates from elevations > 1310 m in the Pyramid and Walker Lake subbasins indicate that lakes in all seven Lahontan subbasins coalesced ???14,200 14C yr B.P. forming Lake Lahontan. Lake Lahontan achieved its 1330-m highstand elevation by ???13,800 14 C yr B.P. and receded to 1310 m by ???13,700 14C yr B.P. Calculations, based on measured carbonate-accumulation rates, of the amount of time Lake Lahontan exceeded 1310 and 1330 m (500 and 50 yr) are consistent with this chronology. The timing of the Lake Lahontan highstand is of interest because of the linkage of highstand climates with proximity to the polar jet stream. The brevity of the Lahontan highstand is interpreted to indicate that the core of the southern branch of the polar jet stream remained only briefly over the Lahontan basin.
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Factors Affecting 14C Ages of Lacustrine Carbonates: Timing and Duration of the Last Highstand Lake in the Lahontan Basin