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Title page for ETD etd-07132011-113921

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Beavins Tracy, Rachel Anne
Author's Email Address rachel.a.beavins@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07132011-113921
Title Holocene environmental change recorded in lagoonal sediment proxies at Huaca Prieta, north coastal Peru
Degree Master of Science
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Steven Goodbred Committee Chair
Larisa DeSantis Committee Member
  • north coastal Peru
  • geoarchaeology
  • microfossils
  • Holocene paleoclimate
Date of Defense 2011-06-23
Availability unrestricted
This study attempts to define the early to mid-Holocene paleoenvironment at Huaca Prieta, an archaeological site on the north coast of Peru, through a combination of sedimentological, paleoecological, and stable isotope analyses. This research is part of a larger collaborative study drawing on many disciplines, and the interpretations of the results presented here are solely from a geological perspective. Multiple studies point to a severely diminished or even absent El Niño in the region during the mid-Holocene, but the Chicama River valley is a relatively unstudied location. Sediment coring from the upper 6 m reveals laminated to thinly bedded carbonates, organic sediments, and fine-grained clays deposited within larger intervals of sands and silts. These finer-grained sediments evidence a coastal lagoon 3 km in length which existed approximately 7300-6200 cal ybp. Stratigraphic analysis of the upper 6 m of sediments reveals a marked decrease in siliciclastic material delivered to the floodplain during this time, with potential implications for the mid-Holocene El Niño frequency debate and human-environment linkages during this time.
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