US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Quaternary Research 56, 10–22 (2001) doi:10.1006/qres.2001.2246.
This article is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Pollen and geochemical data from Little Lake, western Oregon, suggest several patterns of millennial-scale environmental change during marine isotope stage (MIS) 2 (14,100–27,600 cal yr B.P.) and the latter part of MIS 3 (27,600–42,500 cal yr B.P.). During MIS 3, a series of transitions between warm- and cold-adapted taxa indicate that temperatures oscillated by ca. 2±–4±C every 1000–3000 yr. Highs and lows in summer insolation during MIS 3 are generally associated with the warmest and coldest intervals. Warm periods at Little Lake correlate with warm sea-surface temperatures in the Santa Barbara Basin. Changes in the strength of the subtropical high and the jet stream may account for synchronous changes at the two sites. During MIS 2, shifts between mesic and xeric subalpine forests suggest changes in precipitation every 1000–3000 yr. Increases in Tsuga heterophylla pollen at 25,000 and 22,000 cal yr B.P. imply brief warmings. Minimum summer insolation and maximum global ice-volumes during MIS 2 correspond to cold and dry conditions. Fluctuations in precipitation at Little Lake do not correlate with changes in the Santa Barbara Basin and may be explained by variations in the strength of the glacial anticyclone and the position of the jet stream.