2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 229-39
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


TRAN, Jacky, Geology Department, Pomona College, 185 E. 6th St., Rm. 232, Claremont, CA 91711, jackytran93@gmail.com

The sedimentary record of New England is complex. From glacial till to colonial land use to the industrial revolution, any sediment preserved is intertwined and muddled by humans. Recent studies support the idea that any anthropogenic markers in the sediment record are site specific. Southern New England is marked by a myriad of practices including farming, charcoal kilns, hatting, mill dams, and iron furnaces. While specific markers of the anthropocene have been identified, little work has been done to correlate and quantify these noted markers across multiple basins. Specifically, a combination of x-ray fluorescence (XRF), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and grain size analysis were done on sediment cores taken within Southern New England across various watersheds. We present a combination of geochemical analysis and detrital zircon geochronology in order identify and account for basin differences. This in turn results in a more comprehensive trans-basin understanding of the anthropocene in this region.

We observe strong evidence that supports the idea of geochemical markers anthropocene which include an increase in Mercury and Lead content in the sediments. Additionally, in basins where mill dams are present we observe sediment records consistent with flood events and dam degradation. While still fairly novel and understudied, our results provide insight to the much often question topic of the anthropocene in relation to this particular region and the potential pitfalls of doing large scale anthropogenic dating.