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Lakes in N America in the Late Pleistocene

7 June 2014

This is another example of the uniformitarian mind. The findings, however, should not be dismissed – as they are telling us something. The story is at http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/scientists-solve-my… … and scientists solving mysteries is very often a PR tactic used by universities releasing details of research. In this instance, the mystery is how ancient lakes in N America grew enormously in size at the peak of the last Ice Age 20,000 plus years ago. This is the so called Late Glacial Maximum when the ice sheet was further south, deep into Wisconsin, than at any other time. The consensus opinion has been that the climate was wetter and increased precipitation led to the growth in the lakes – in a region that is now semi arid. The paper was published in the journal of Geological Society of America Bulletin and the author, reached the conclusion that precipitation was not particularly great but the evaporation rate was much lower, hence the water did not disappear into the atmosphere, to the degree it does in the modern world.

Note, in the modern world, these lakes, situated in parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Oregon, would exist in a hot and dry environment. In the Ice Age, the climate was cooler – and heat evaporating the lakes was not a problem. Analysis of oxygen 16 and 18 isotopes were taken, the latter being evidence of lower precipitation. Measuring C14 and uranium in tufa samples from an ancient structure, followed by mass spectrometry and computer analysis, he came up with the conclusion evaporation rates were 40 per cent lower than in the modern world. Hence, the idea it was wetter in the Great Basin during the Late Pleistocene is not the full story. In fact, the study says that it was at the end of the Late Glacial Maximum that precipitation rates rose. The lakes were at their maximum around 15,000 years ago.

In a catastrophic interpretation one might wonder if the lakes were at the same latitude during the LGM. In the modern world there are plenty of lakes in the cooler climate of Canada – in what is a northern extension of the praire and the Great Basin. Peter Warlow, in an SIS talk at the last Cambridge Conference, played with the idea the LGM represents a redefinition of the Arctic Circle (which would have involved Pole shift). As such, the Great Basin would have geographically been somewhat akin to parts of Canada nowadays, and the climate would have been considerably cooler (with less evaporation). This is of course pseudo science, the preserve of cranks and oddballs, the product of ill educated and those not sufficiently ingested with uniformitarian principles. Peter Warlow was in fact a research physicist – but of course, to suggest Pole shift, he must have been a nutjob or a fruit and nut case. The fact he was willing to explore the frontiers of geology is bye the bye – anyone thinking the Poles can move must be completely barmy. Its all a bit like climate science really – they are the professionals and they must be right. Mustn't they?

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