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Images: Lakes and Climates Have Their Ups and Downs

Jeff Donnelly and colleagues have studied lakes and ponds overlying a large aquifer (yellow) in southeastern Massachusetts to reconstruct the history of past water table and pond levels. The research provides clues to past climate conditions and the potential for future climate change in the region. The brown box within the aquifer represents the area in the illustration below. (Courtesy of Jeff Donnelly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

An enlarged view of the brown box in the map above, showing several ponds studied by WHOI scientists. At top, a cross-section (from points A' to A) of the area, showing water table levels today and two scenarios for water table levels 3,000 and 5,000 years ago during the Holocene Epoch when drought conditions prevailed in the New England region. (Courtesy of Jeff Donnelly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

An image from a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is juxtaposed below a photo of the lake surface. The GPR image reveals a sandy ancient shoreline below layers of organic silt that subsequently accumulated on top of it when the lake level rose. The buried shoreline was created when the climate was drier and lake level was lower. (Jeff Donnelly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Donnelly and colleagues sink metal coring tubes into lake bottoms to collect plugs of sediment that are analyzed and dated to reconstruct a record of past climate conditions. (Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Donnelly retrieves a core taken from the bottom of Oyster Pond in Woods Hole, Mass. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)