Stable carbon and hydrogen isotopes from bat guano in the Grand Canyon, USA, reveal Younger Dryas and 8.2 ka events

Christopher M. Wurster*, William P. Patterson, Donald A. McFarlane, Leonard I. Wassenaar, Keith A. Hobson, Nancy Beavan Athfield, Michael I. Bird

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We inferred climate change through the Pleistocene-Holocene transition from delta C-13 and delta D values of bat guano deposited from 14.5 to 6.5 ka (calendar ka) in Bat Cave, Grand Canvon, Arizona. The delta C-13 and delta D values generally covaried, indicating that regional late Pleistocene climate was relatively cool and wet, and early Holocene climate gradually became warmer with increased summer precipitation until ca. 9 ka, at which time the onset of modern North American Monsoon-like conditions occurred. During the Younger Dryas event, delta C-13 values decreased, whereas delta D values increased, indicating a cool and possibly drier period. We also observed a distinct isotopic anomaly during the 8.2 ka event, at which time both delta C-13 and delta D values decreased. The delta C-13 values abruptly increased at 8.0 ka, suggesting a rapid change in atmospheric circulation and greater influence from convective storms originating from the south. Deposits of bat guano represent a largely untapped source of paleoenvironmental information that can provide continuous and long-term continental archives of environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-686
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008

Keywords

  • arid
  • precipitation
  • vegetation
  • paleoclimate
  • North American Monsoon
  • SANTA-BARBARA BASIN
  • UNITED-STATES
  • MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
  • INSECTIVOROUS BATS
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • NORTH-AMERICA
  • BEETLE CHITIN
  • NATAL ORIGINS
  • DELTA-D
  • RATIOS

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