Lakes Come and Go, 50 Million Years Ago – #365papers – 2017 – 69

#365papers for March 10, 2017

Davis, Wiegand, Carroll, and Chamberlain, 2008, The effect of dreainage reorganization on paleoaltimetry studies: An example from the Paleogene Laramide foreland: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 275, p. 258-268.

What’s it about?

The authors use isotopes of carbon, oxygen, and strontium, plus relative abundances of strontium and calcium in lake deposits to interpret water sources, connectivity of lakes, and general environmental parameters for the Uinta Basin during the Eocene (~55-~43 million years ago).

Why does it matter?

Drainage reorganizations can be caused by climate changes and also by tectonic events like mountain building. In this case, both occurred at the same time and through the use of the several geochemical signals the authors measured, the differences can be teased apart.

Why did I read this?

It started when I wanted to include the authors’ isotopic data in a massive figure for use in this grant proposal I’m working on. Then I wanted to understand their interpretations. Then I skimmed their interpretations and I thought maybe they made a mistake. Then I read more closely and they DO make the mistake I thought they made. Now, whether it affects their overall interpretations… probably not. But it matters. And our project will probably sort it out…

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