MIDDLE HOLOCENE PERIODICITIES IN RAINFALL INFERRED FROM OXYGEN AND CARBON ISOTOPIC FLUCTUATIONS IN PREHISTORIC TROPICAL ESTUARINE MOLLUSC SHELLS

D. KENNETT, B. VOORHIES

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stable oxygen and carbon isotopic ratios in modern and archaeological estuarine mollusc shells, Polymesoda radiata, change in accordance with seasonal salinity fluctuations in the Acapetahua estuary located on the Pacific coast of southern Mexico. This region receives −3000 mm of precipitation annually, most during a wet season between April and October. The changing flux of fresh water and organic detritus into the estuary causes large changes in the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of the estuarine waters and in the carbonate precipitated by P. radiata. Oxygen isotopic ratios in the shells of molluscs collected by late Archaic period populations (5000–4000 BP) in this region indicate that patterns of rainfall were similar to today. Modern shells, however, exhibit much more negative carbon isotopic values than observed in prehistoric shells. This change may be associated with the input of modern fertilizers into the estuary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalArchaeometry
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Archaeology

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