Oxygen Isotopes Archived in Subfossil Chironomids: Advancing a Promising Proxy for Lake Water Isotopes Everett Lasher
Oxygen isotopes measured in subfossil chironomid head capsules (aquatic insect remains) in lake sediments are beginning to offer paleoclimate insights from previously under-studied areas of the world. Since the first published pilot study demonstrated the potential of chironomid δ18O to record lake water δ18O (Wooller et al., 2004), subsequent work has refined our understanding of this proxy: confirming via lab cultures that growth water controls head capsule δ18O (Wang et al., 2009), refining laboratory pretreatment protocols, and further validating the method by demonstrating strong agreement between carbonate and chironomid-derived paleo-isotope records (Verbruggen et al., 2009, 2010, 2011). However, outstanding questions remain, including the seasonality of chironomid growth, possible species-dependent vital effects, and diagenetic effects on the protein-chitin complex that comprise chironomid cuticles. To address some of these questions, we summarize available data from paired modern chironomid-lake water δ18O values from around the world and discuss climatic and environmental factors affecting chironomid isotopic signatures. We also present new data on the resistance of these subfossils to diagenesis and degradation throughout the late Quaternary using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) of chironomid remains up to >100,000 years old. As chironomids are nearly ubiquitous in lakes globally and, we argue, molecularly stable through glacial and interglacial cycles, this proxy has the potential to greatly expand the spatial and temporal resolution of Quaternary paleo-isotopes and thus climate records. In addition to reviewing and presenting new methodological advances, we also present applications of chironomid δ18O from millennial- to centennial-scale Holocene Greenland lake records
The implications of strike-slip earthquake source properties on the transform boundary development process James Scott Neely
Subduction-Transform Edge Propagator (STEP) faults, produced by the tearing of a subducting plate, allow us to study the development of a transform plate boundary and improve our understanding of both long-term geologic processes and short-term seismic hazards. The 280 km long San Cristobal Trough (SCT), formed by the tearing of the Australia plate as it subducts under the Pacific plate near the Solomon and Vanuatu subduction zones, shows along-strike variations in earthquake behaviors. The segment of the SCT closest to the tear rarely hosts earthquakes > Mw 6, whereas the SCT sections more than 80 – 100 km from the tear experience ~Mw 7 earthquakes with repeated rupture along the same segments. To understand the effect of cumulative displacement on SCT seismicity, we analyze b-values, centroid-time delays and corner frequencies of the SCT earthquakes. We use the spectral ratio method based on Empirical Green’s Functions (eGfs) to isolate source effects from propagation and site effects. We find high b-values along the SCT closest to the tear with values decreasing with distance before finally increasing again towards the far end of the SCT. Centroid time-delays for the ~Mw 7 strike-slip earthquakes increase with distance from the tear, but corner frequency estimates for a recent sequence of ~Mw 7 earthquakes are approximately equal, indicating a growing complexity in earthquake behavior with distance from the tear due to a displacement-driven transform boundary development process (see figure). The increasing complexity possibly stems from the earthquakes along the eastern SCT rupturing through multiple asperities resulting in multiple moment pulses. If not for the bounding Vanuatu subduction zone at the far end of the SCT, the eastern SCT section, which has experienced the most cumulative displacement, might be capable of hosting larger earthquakes. When assessing the seismic hazard of other STEP faults, cumulative fault offset should be considered a key input in determining potential earthquake size.