Uranium-series dating of dense tufa deposited in a small cave, at former lake margins, and in large tufa mounds clarifies the timing of lake-level variation during the past 400,000 yr in the Pyramid Lake basin. A moderate-sized lake occasionally overflowed the Emerson Pass sill at elevation of ???1207 m between ca. 400,000 and 170,000 and from ca. 60,000 to 20,000 yr B.P., as shown by 230Th/234U ages of the cave samples, 230Th-excess ages of tubular tufas, and average isochron-plot ages of shoreline-deposited tufas. (By comparison, modern Pyramid Lake is ???50 m below this sill). There is a lack of tufa record during the intervening period from ca. 170,000 to 60,000 yr B.P. After ca. 20,000 yr, Pyramid Lake underwent abrupt changes in level and, based on previous 14C ages, reached its highest elevation (ca 1335 m) at ca. 14,000 yr B.P. The youngest uranium-series ages are comparable with previously reported 14C ages. ?? 1996 University of Washington.
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Uranium-series dating of carbonate (tufa) deposits associated with quaternary fluctuations of Pyramid Lake, Nevada