Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 373–390 | Cite as

Constraining Holocene lake levels and coastal dune activity in the Lake Michigan basin

  • Timothy G. Fisher
  • Kelly A. Weyer
  • Amber M. Boudreau
  • James M. Martin-Hayden
  • David E. Krantz
  • Andy Breckenridge


Sediment cores collected from embayed lakes along the east-central coast of Lake Michigan are used to construct aeolian sand records of past coastal dune mobility, and to constrain former lake levels in the Lake Michigan basin. Time series analysis of sand cycles based on the weight-percent aeolian sand within lacustrine sediment, reveals statistically significant spectral peaks that coincide with established lake level cycles in Lake Michigan and the Gleissberg sunspot cycle of minima. Longer cycles of ~ 800 and ~ 2200 years were also identified that correspond to solar cycles. Shorter cycles between 80 and 220 years suggest a link between coastal dune mobility, climate, and lake levels in the Lake Michigan basin. Radiocarbon-dated sedimentary contacts of lacustrine sediment overlying wetland sediment record the Nipissing transgression in the Lake Michigan basin. Lake level rise closely mimics the predicted uplift of the North Bay outlet, with lake level rise slowing when outflow was transferred to the Port Huron/Sarnia outlet. The Nipissing highstand was reached after 5000 cal (4.4 ka) BP.


Nipissing transgression Sand dunes Time series analysis Water levels Lake Michigan Lake Huron 



Coring assistance by Henry Loope, Walter Loope, Bill Pierce, Chuck Stafford, and Pete Lundborg and staff of Silver Lake State Park is gratefully acknowledged. Catherine Yansa provided advice on which terrestrial macrofossils to radiocarbon date. Detailed reviews of this manuscript were by John Johnston and an anonymous reviewer. John King and Mike Lewis are thanked for their editorial role in this special issue. Funding for this project was from NOAA Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant NA16RG2283 to Fisher.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy G. Fisher
    • 1
  • Kelly A. Weyer
    • 1
  • Amber M. Boudreau
    • 1
  • James M. Martin-Hayden
    • 1
  • David E. Krantz
    • 1
  • Andy Breckenridge
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, MS-604University of ToledoToledoUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyMercyhurst CollegeErieUSA

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