PalEON Goes Into the Field

Post by Connor Nolan, University of Arizona Graduate Student

On Sunday November 3, Bryan Shuman and I (Connor Nolan) packed up a rental van with coring gear and hit the road for the 5.5 hour drive from Woods Hole, MA to Bangor, ME. 

Our aim was to do identify and core a lake for lake-level reconstruction near-ish to the Howland Experimental Forest flux site. We can survey lakes for evidence of past lake level changes using ground penetrating radar. The first day we had adventures in learning to navigate Maine’s back roads and we surveyed 2 lakes – Crystal Lake and Pickerel Pond. Both were beautiful sites, but the past lake level story was not very clear. 

Day 2 included surveys of 3 more lakes — Peep Lake, Salmon Pond, and Giles Pond — and an excursion through the largest industrial blueberry farm in North America (an interesting looking site called Rocky Lake is on their property, we did not survey it this trip due to big no trespassing signs on the property…). Just as we were starting to wonder if we would find the right lake on this trip we surveyed Giles Pond and it turned out to be the one! We arrived in the perfect light to take a great picture.Day 3 we cored Giles Pond along a transect. We ended up with 4 cores in all from this trip with lots of sand layers (a good thing for this kind of work!!). The Younger Dryas has a very distinctive lithology in this region, a light gray clay, and we have this lithology in some of our cores so we should have a record that goes back nearly 15,000 years! 

It was my first lake coring experience and it was a lot of fun! The cores are currently at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute with Bryan. I will make a return trip there before long to do some initial analyses and then ship the cores back to Arizona for initial dating and more work!