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Quantitative assessment of the oxygen isotope composition of fish otoliths from Lake Mungo, Australia

Quantitative assessment of the oxygen isotope composition of fish otoliths from Lake Mungo, Australia
Quantitative assessment of the oxygen isotope composition of fish otoliths from Lake Mungo, Australia
The Willandra Lakes region is a series of once interconnected and now-dry lake basins in the arid zone of southeastern Australia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of cultural, archaeological, and geological significance, preserving records of Aboriginal occupation and environmental change stretching back to at least 50 ka. Linking the archaeology with the commensurate palaeoenvironmental information is complicated by the millennial time spans represented by the past hydrological record preserved in the sediment vs. the subdecadal evidence of each archaeological site. Oxygen isotope records across annual growth rings of fish otoliths (ear stones) can elucidate flooding and drying regimes on subannual scales. Otoliths from hearth sites (fireplaces) link lake hydrology with people eating fish on the lakeshore. Oxygen isotopic trends in hearth otoliths from the last glacial maximum (LGM) were previously interpreted in terms of high evaporation under dry conditions. However, this ignored hydrology-driven changes in water δ18O. Here, a mass balance model is constructed to test the effect lake desiccation has on water δ18O and how this compares with the LGM otolith records. Based on this modelling, we suggest that Lake Mungo otolith signatures are better explained by evaporation acting on full lakes rather than by lake drying.
Arid zone, Otoliths, Oxygen isotopes, Quaternary, Willandra Lakes
0033-5894
1-13
Long, Kelsie
5ea10aa5-9f3b-4424-9a2a-9c9f3a084c02
Heslop, David
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Rohling, Eelco J.
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685
Long, Kelsie
5ea10aa5-9f3b-4424-9a2a-9c9f3a084c02
Heslop, David
f32aae36-7f51-40e1-bf7d-54a561369a8d
Rohling, Eelco J.
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685

Long, Kelsie, Heslop, David and Rohling, Eelco J. (2021) Quantitative assessment of the oxygen isotope composition of fish otoliths from Lake Mungo, Australia. Quaternary Research, 102, 1-13. (doi:10.1017/qua.2020.121).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Willandra Lakes region is a series of once interconnected and now-dry lake basins in the arid zone of southeastern Australia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of cultural, archaeological, and geological significance, preserving records of Aboriginal occupation and environmental change stretching back to at least 50 ka. Linking the archaeology with the commensurate palaeoenvironmental information is complicated by the millennial time spans represented by the past hydrological record preserved in the sediment vs. the subdecadal evidence of each archaeological site. Oxygen isotope records across annual growth rings of fish otoliths (ear stones) can elucidate flooding and drying regimes on subannual scales. Otoliths from hearth sites (fireplaces) link lake hydrology with people eating fish on the lakeshore. Oxygen isotopic trends in hearth otoliths from the last glacial maximum (LGM) were previously interpreted in terms of high evaporation under dry conditions. However, this ignored hydrology-driven changes in water δ18O. Here, a mass balance model is constructed to test the effect lake desiccation has on water δ18O and how this compares with the LGM otolith records. Based on this modelling, we suggest that Lake Mungo otolith signatures are better explained by evaporation acting on full lakes rather than by lake drying.

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Long et al. _Lake Mungo_QR-S-20-00153 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 1 December 2020
Published date: 1 February 2021
Keywords: Arid zone, Otoliths, Oxygen isotopes, Quaternary, Willandra Lakes

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447206
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447206
ISSN: 0033-5894
PURE UUID: a15036fc-cb94-4447-a46b-9926c359c4af
ORCID for Eelco J. Rohling: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5349-2158

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Date deposited: 04 Mar 2021 17:46
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:20

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Contributors

Author: Kelsie Long
Author: David Heslop

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