Todd Thompson
Geological Research at the IGS

Late Holocene lake level of Lake Michigan

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed May 1, 1988 Apr 30, 1995 Lake, LaPorte, Porter
Director: Todd Thompson
Other Researchers: Steve J. Baedke (James Madison University)
Funding: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - - USGS - No Specific Program
Issue: Fluctuations in lake level are the primary control on shoreline behavior through the Great Lakes. This is especially true for 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, maps, and presentations on past lake level, shoreline behavior, and architecture.
Benefits: The results of the study can be used to develop coastal management plans.
Publications:

A 4,700-year record of lake level and isostasy for Lake Michigan
Baedke, S.J., and Thompson, T.A., 2000. A 4,700-year record of lake level and isostasy for Lake Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 26, n. 4., p. 416-426.

A geologic perspective on Lake Michigan water levels
Thompson, T.A., and Baedke, S.J., 2000. A geologic perspective on Lake Michigan water levels. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Level Bulletin, v. 140, p. 1-5.

A post-Calumet shoreline along southern Lake Michigan
Capps, D.K., Thompson, T.A., and Booth R.K., 2007, A post-Calumet shoreline along southern Lake Michigan. Journal of Paleolimnology, v. 37, p. 395-409.

Anatomy of a transgression along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan
Thompson, T.A., 1989. Anatomy of a transgression along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. Journal of Coastal Research, v. 5, p. 711-724.

Beach-ridge development and lake-level variation in southern Lake Michigan
Thompson, T.A., 1992. Beach-ridge development and lake-level variation in southern Lake Michigan. In Donoghue, J.F., Davis, R.A., Fletcher, C.H., and Suter, J.R., Quaternary Coastal Evolution. Sedimentary Geology, v. 80, p.305-318.

Beach-ridge development in Lake Michigan: shoreline behavior in response to quasi-periodic lake-level events.
Thompson, T.A., and Baedke, S.J., 1995. Beach-ridge development in Lake Michigan: shoreline behavior in response to quasi-periodic lake-level events. Marine Geology, v. 129, p. 163-174.

Coastal geomorphology and littoral cell divisions along the Illinois-Indiana coast of Lake Michigan
Chrzastowski, M.J., Thompson, T.A., and Trask, C.B., 1994. Coastal geomorphology and littoral cell divisions along the Illinois-Indiana coast of Lake Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 20, p. 27-43.

Dune/beach complex and back-barrier sediments along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan: Cowles Bog area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Thompson, T.A., 1990. Dune/beach complex and back-barrier sediments along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan: Cowles Bog area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 251, p. 9-19.

Geomorphic expression of late Holocene lake levels and paleowinds in the upper Great Lakes
Thompson, T.A., Baedke, S.J., and Johnston, J.W., 2004. Geomorphic expression of late Holocene lake levels and paleowinds in the upper Great Lakes. In Hansen, E.C., ed., The Geology and Geomorphology of Lake Michigan's Coast. Michigan Academician, v. 35, n. 4, p.355-371.

History and architecture of wetland development in the Indiana Dunes
Thompson, T.A., 1994. History and architecture of wetland development in the Indiana Dunes. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, v. 103, n. 3-4, p. 167-176.

Hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of the dunes and wetlands along the south shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana. U.S.
Shedlock, R.K., Cohen, D.A., Imbrigotta, T.E., and Thompson, T.A., 1994. Hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of the dunes and wetlands along the south shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 92-139, 85 p.

Hydrogeomorphic classification for Great Lakes coastal wetlands
Albert, D.A., Wilcox, D.A., Ingram, J.W., and Thompson, T.A., 2005, Hydrogeomorphic classification for Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Journal of Great Lakes Research, , v. 31 (Supplement 1), p. 129–146.

Hydrogeomorphic factors and ecosystem responses in coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes
Keough, J. R., Thompson, T. A., Guntenspergen, G. R. and Wilcox, D. A., 1999. Hydrogeomorphic factors and ecosystem responses in coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes. Wetlands, vol. 19, p. 821-834.

Interactions between ground water and wetlands, southern shore of Lake Michigan, U.S.A.
Shedlock, R.K., Wilcox, D.A., Thompson, T.A., and Cohen, D.A., 1993. Interactions between ground water and wetlands, southern shore of Lake Michigan, U.S.A. Journal of Hydrology, v. 141, p. 127-155.

Lake-level variability and water availability in the Great Lakes
Wilcox, D.A., Thompson, T.A., Booth, R.K., and Nicholas, J.R. 2007, Lake-level variability and water availability in the Great Lakes. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1311, 25p.

Lake-level variation in southern Lake Michigan: Magnitude and timing of fluctuations over the past 4,000 years
Thompson, T.A., Fraser, G.S., and Hester, N.C., 1991. Lake-level variation in southern Lake Michigan: Magnitude and timing of fluctuations over the past 4,000 years. Illinois-Indiana NOAA Sea Grant Special Report, IL-IN-SR-91-2, 19 p.

Land-based vibracoring and vibracore analysis: tips, tricks, and traps
Thompson, T.A., Miller, C.S., Doss, P.K., Thompson, L.D.P., and Baedke, S.J., 1991. Land-based vibracoring and vibracore analysis: tips, tricks, and traps. Indiana Geological Survey Occasional Paper 58, 13 p.

Late Wisconsinan and Holocene Geologic history of the Illinois and Indiana coast of Lake Michigan.
Chrzastowski, M.J., and Thompson, T.A., 1994. Late Wisconsinan and Holocene Geologic history of the Illinois and Indiana coast of Lake Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 20, p.9-26.

Molluscan faunal changes in the Cowles Bog area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, following the low-water Chippewa Phase
Miller, B.B., and Thompson, T.A., 1990. Molluscan faunal changes in the Cowles Bog area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, following the low-water Chippewa Phase. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 251, p. 21-27.

Physiography and sediment distribution of the Indiana Shoals, southern Lake Michigan
Schlee, J.S., Folger, D.W., Risch, J.S., Seekins, B.A., Foster, D.S., Polloni, C.F., Brown, C.L., Chrzastowski, M.J., and Thompson, T.A., 1994. Physiography and sediment distribution of the Indiana Shoals, southern Lake Michigan. U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigation Series, Map I-2429, 2 sheets.

Reconstructing paleo lake levels from relict shorelines along the Upper Great Lakes
Baedke, S.J., Thompson, T.A., Johnston, J.W., and Wilcox, D.A., 2004. Reconstructing paleo lake levels from relict shorelines along the Upper Great Lakes. Aquatic Ecosystems Health & Management; Special Issue: Emerging Issues in Lake Superior Research, v. 7, n. 4, p. 435-449.

Sediments and sedimentary structures of a barred, nontidal coastline, southern shore of Lake Michigan
Fraser, G.S., Thompson, T.A., Kvale, E.P., Carlson, C.P., Fishbaugh, D.A., Gruver, B.L., Holbrook, J., Kairo, S., Kohler, C.S., Malone, A.E., Moore, C.H., Rachmanto, B., and Rhoades, L., 1991. Sediments and sedimentary structures of a barred, nontidal coastline, southern shore of Lake Michigan. Journal of Coastal Research, v. 7, no. 4, p. 1113-1124.

Strandplain evidence for late Holocene lake-level variations in Lake Michigan.
Thompson, T.A., and Baedke, S.J., 1997. Strandplain evidence for late Holocene lake-level variations in Lake Michigan. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 109, p. 666-682.

Strandplain evidence for reconstructing late Holocene lake level in the Lake Michigan basin
Thompson, T.A., and Baedke, S.J., 1999. Strandplain evidence for reconstructing late Holocene lake level in the Lake Michigan basin. In Sellinger, C.E. and Quinn, F.H., Eds., Proceedings of the Great Lakes Paleo-Levels Workshop: The Last 4000 Years, NOAA Technical Memorandum ERL GLERL-113, p. 30-34.

The late Wisconsinan and Holocene coastal evolution of the southern shore of Lake Michigan
Chrzastowski, M.J., and Thompson, T.A., 1992. The late Wisconsinan and Holocene coastal evolution of the southern shore of Lake Michigan. In Fletcher, C.H., and Wehmiller, J.F., Quaternary Coasts of the United States: Marine and Lacustrine Systems, SEPM Special Publication 48, p. 397-413.

Where land meets the water: understanding wetlands of the Great lakes
Environment Canada (Albert, D., Gannon, J., McCracken, J., Patterson, N., Thompson, T.A., Weeber, R., Whillans, T., and Wilcox, D.A., contributors), 2002., Where land meets the water: understanding wetlands of the Great lakes. Environment Canada, Toronto, Canada, 72p.

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