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7,000 years of environmental change at Clear Pond, South Carolina

Authors: Zachary Taylor*, Berry College, Elisabeth Yanuskiewicz, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Chelsea N Anderson, Berry College, Chad S Lane, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Biogeography, Physical Geography
Keywords: lake sediments, fire, charcoal, South Carolina, coastal plain, drought
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


We constructed a 7,000-year multi-proxy paleoenvironmental record from Clear Pond, South Carolina using compound-specific carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses of n-alkanes, macroscopic charcoal, and bulk sedimentary δ13C. As established by previous pollen analysis, the coastal plain near Clear Pond has supported a pine-forest for at least the past 7,000 years; however, there have been significant changes in fire dynamics and paleohydrology during this time. From 6,750 BP to 3,750 BP, fires were frequent, though bulk sediment and n-alkane δ13C values indicate a relatively low contribution of C4-derived organic matter and n-alkane δ2H values indicate relatively mesic conditions. Charcoal abundance is low from 3,500–2,750 BP, which, according to the n-alkane δ2H data was a period of relative aridity. Pollen data indicate a slight decrease in pine during this period, so the reduction in charcoal could indicate less severe fires in a more open forest. Fire activity dramatically increases from 1,600–900 BP and is accompanied by increased n-alkane δ2H values, high bulk density values, and increased δ13C values indicating very dry conditions during this time.

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