Death Valley, a complex tectonic and hydrologic basin, was cored from its lowest surface elevation to a depth of 186 m. The sediments range from bedded primary halite to black muds. Continental ostracodes found in the black muds indicate that those sediments were deposited in a variety of hydrologic settings ranging from deep, relatively fresh water to shallow saline lakes to spring discharge supported wetlands. The alkaline-enriched, calcium-depleted paleolake waters indicate extrabasinal streamflow and basin-margin spring discharge. The alkaline-depleted, calcium-enriched paleowetland waters indicate intrabasinal spring discharge. During Marine Isotope Stage 6 (MIS 6, ca. 180-140 ka) the hydrologic settings were highly variable, implying that complex relations existed between climate and basin hydrology. Termination II (MIS 6 to MIS 5E) was a complex multicyclic sequence of paleoenvironments, implying that climates oscillated between high and low effective moisture. MIS 4 (ca. 73-61 ka) was a spring discharge supported wetland complex. During MIS 2 (ca. 20-12 ka) the hydrologic settings were variable, although they are not fully understood because some black muds deposited during that time were lost during coring. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.
Additional publication details
An ostracode based paleolimnologic and paleohydrologic history of Death Valley: 200 to 0 ka