A multiproxy environmental investigation of Holocene wood from a submerged conifer forest in Lake Huron, USA

R. Douglas Hunter, Irina P. Panyushkina, Steven W. Leavitt, Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, John Zawiskie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Remains of a Holocene drowned forest in southern Lake Huron discovered in 12.5 m of water (164 m above sea level), 4.5 km east of Lexington, Michigan USA (Sanilac site), provided wood to investigate environment and lake history using several proxies. Macrofossil evidence indicates a forest comprised primarily of conifers equivalent to the modern "rich conifer swamp" community, despite generally low regional abundance of these species in pollen records. Ages range from 7095 ± 50 to 6420 ± 70 14C yr BP, but the clustering of stump dates and the development of 2 floating tree-ring chronologies suggest a briefer forest interval of no more than c. 400 years. Dendrochronological analysis indicates an environment with high inter-annual climate variability. Stable-carbon isotope composition falls within the range of modern trees from this region, but the stable-oxygen composition is consistent with warmer conditions than today. Both our tree-ring and isotope data provide support for a warmer environment in this region, consistent with a mid-Holocene thermal maximum. This drowned forest also provides a dated elevation in the Nipissing transgression at about 6420 14C yr BP (7350 cal yr BP) in the southern Lake Huron basin, a few hundred years before reopening of the St. Clair River drainage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Holocene
  • Lake Huron
  • Lake Stanley
  • Lake levels
  • Stable isotopes
  • Thuja
  • Tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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