Todd Thompson
Geological Research at the IGS

Late Holocene lake level of Lake Huron

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Jun 1, 2004 May 30, 2010 Outside Indiana
Director: Todd Thompson
Other Researchers: Steve J. Baedke, Doug A. Wilcox, Erin P. Argyilan, Ken Lepper, Robert K. Booth, Anthony Endres, John W. Johnston
Funding: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - Global Climate Change Program
Issue: Fluctuations in lake level are a primary control on shoreline behavior throughout the Great Lakes. This is especially true for the sandy coastlines of northwestern Indiana. The historical record from lake-level gauges is too short to statistically recognize patterns of lake-level change that are longer than about 10 years. A longer record of lake-level fluctuations can be created by using the geologic record.
Objective: The purpose of this project is to determine the physical limits and timing of past lake-level fluctuations during the last 5,000 years.
Approach: Vibracores were collected of swash zone sediments within beach ridges to determine the elevation of the lake. Basal wetland sediments (peat and organic sands) from the swales between beach ridges were radiocarbon dated to date the age of the beach ridges. From the elevation and age information relative lake-level curves were constructed.
Products: Reports and presentation
Benefits: The results of the study can be used to develop coastal management plans.
Publications:

A comparison of dendrochronological and sedimentological datasets and their applicability for the interpretation of annual and decadal scale climate fluctuations in the Great Lakes (poster).
Bell, J. M, Porse, S., Baedke, S.J., Thompson, T.A., and Wilcox, D.A, 2006. A comparison of dendrochronological and sedimentological datasets and their applicability for the interpretation of annual and decadal scale climate fluctuations in the Great Lakes (poster). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 354.

Lake-level reconstruction for the past ~2000 years from coastal strandplains (abs.)
Argyilan, E.P, Lepper, K., Thompson, T.A., Forman, S.L., Baedke, S.J., and Wilcox, D.A., 2009. Lake-level reconstruction for the past ~2000 years from coastal strandplains (abs.). Geological Society of America , Abstracts with Programs, v. 41, no. 4, p. 14.

Late Holocene lake level in the upper Great Lakes: What lake level do you want it to be? (abs.).
Thompson, T.A., Baedke, S.J., and Johnston, J.W., 2006. Late Holocene lake level in the upper Great Lakes: What lake level do you want it to be? (abs.). Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 38, No. 4, p. 7.

OSL dating of beach ridges in the Negwegon embayment of Lake Huron - from the modern shore up and over the Nipissing rise (abs.)
Lepper, K., Argyilan, E., Thompson, T.A., 2008. OSL dating of beach ridges in the Negwegon embayment of Lake Huron - from the modern shore up and over the Nipissing rise (abs.). Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 40, no. 5, p.77-78.

Pre-Nipissing lake-level rise at Alpena, Michigan (abs.)
Thompson, T.A., Lepper, K., Johnston, J.W., Baedke, S.J., Argyilan, E.P., Booth, R.K., Endres, A.L., and Wilcox, D.A., 2009. Pre-Nipissing lake-level rise at Alpena, Michigan (abs.). Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 41, no. 4, p. 14.

Strandplain evidence for late Holocene lake level and isostatic rebound in the Lake Huron basin (abs.)
Thompson, T.A., Lepper, K., Baedke, S.J., Argyilan, E.P., and Wilcox, D.A., 2009. Strandplain evidence for late Holocene lake level and isostatic rebound in the Lake Huron basin (abs.). Abstracts for the International Association for Great Lakes Research 52nd Annual Meeting, p. 218.

Subsurface stratigraphy and aqueous geochemistry as indicators of hydrology in beach-ridge complexes: two case studies from the Upper Great Lakes (poster).
Porse, S., Bell, J. M., Baedke, S.J., Thompson, T.A., and Wilcox, D.A, 2006. Subsurface stratigraphy and aqueous geochemistry as indicators of hydrology in beach-ridge complexes: two case studies from the Upper Great Lakes (poster). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 354. [Won Austin A. Sartin Best Student Poster Award]

The use of aqueous geochemistry as an indicator of flow system interaction within a beach-ridge complex of Lake Huron (poster)
Hodges, A.L, Degrazia, L.C., Baedke, S.J., Thompson, T.A., and Wilcox, D.A., 2007. The use of aqueous geochemistry as an indicator of flow system interaction within a beach-ridge complex of Lake Huron (poster). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 39, no. 6, p. 319. [Won National Council Award for Outstanding Student Research Awarded by The Earth Science Honorary Sigma Gamma Epsilon at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America.]

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