Multiple early Holocene climate oscillations at Silver Lake, New Jersey and their possible linkage with outburst floods

Paula Zelanko, Zicheng Yu, Gray E. Bebout, Alan J. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Episodic discharges from the Laurentide Ice Sheet are considered to be one of the major causes of climate oscillations during the glacial to interglacial transition. These outburst floods disrupted thermohaline circulation and might have caused cooling events in the North Atlantic region and beyond, including the Younger Dryas, Preboreal Oscillation, and 8.2-ka events. However, few terrestrial sedimentary records show regional climate changes directly linked to outburst floods during the early Holocene. Here we present lithologic and isotopic data from Silver Lake in northern New Jersey to document temperature and moisture changes during the early Holocene and to discuss possible linkage with outburst flooding events. The lithologic record shows multiple intervals with coupled decreases in carbonate and increases in organic matter during the early Holocene, suggesting lower lake levels and drier climate conditions. Simultaneous with these changes were decreases in carbonate δ 18O values, likely reflecting a decrease in air temperature during these dry periods. The apparent correlation of these sedimentary events at Silver Lake with documented outburst floods from the melting ice sheet suggests a possible causal connection, implying that the climate in the Mid-Atlantic region was extremely sensitive to perturbations of ocean circulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Early Holocene
  • Lake level fluctuation
  • Outburst floods
  • Oxygen stable isotopes
  • Proglacial Lake Agassiz

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


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