A new estimate of the Holocene lowstand level of Lake Titicaca, central Andes, and implications for tropical palaeohydrology

Scott L. Cross, Paul A. Baker, Geoffrey O. Seltzer, Sherilyn C. Fritz, Robert B. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

New evidence from piston cores and high-resolution seismic reflection data shows that water levels in Lake Titicaca were as much as 100 m below the present level during the early to mid-Holocene (between >6 and 3.8 14C kyr BP). Climatological and modelling studies indicate that Lake Titicaca rainfall depends on convective activity in upwind Amazonia; the lake-level data therefore suggest a drier Amazon Basin during this time. This view is bolstered by an excellent match between the Titicaca lake-level curve and decreased methane concentrations in Greenland ice, previously ascribed to drying of low-latitude wetlands (Blunier et al., 1995). The postglacial history of Lake Titicaca fits a global pattern of lake-level change in the tropics, characterized by opposite phasing between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. This pattern is most likely the result of orbital controls over the intensity of summer insolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalHolocene
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Andes
  • Holocene
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Lake-level variations
  • Palaeoclimate
  • South America
  • Tropical palaeohydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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