Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Chemistry

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Geography and Geology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Carbonate platforms, such as the Bahamas, formed through deposition and sea level fluctuations. These platforms contain records of rapid interglacial climate change and are useful in studying the impacts of climate change on similar tropical carbonate environments. Blue holes are dissolution lakes that may be beneficial for understanding climate change and anthropogenic impact. A δ13C and δ18O study was conducted on lake sediment core samples from Watling’s Blue Hole and Blue Hole Five on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. These lakes are located in a failed housing development and Watling’s Blue Hole was once part of an early 19th century plantation which modified the landscape of the surrounding watershed. These lakes are hydrologically connected to the ocean and are tidally influenced: seawater enters through karstic bedrock, while surface water is fresher because of rainwater inputs. Watling’s Blue Hole Site 2 has the older basal date of ~6,870 cal. yr. BP while Blue Hole Five Site 3 basal date was ~5,340 cal. yr. BP. These cores differed compositionally and may be a result of the anthropogenic impact, at least in the very top of the cores. The similarities and differences between Watling’s Blue Hole and Blue Hole Five aid in understanding the impact of anthropogenic and climate change on carbonate platforms as these characteristics vary throughout the Holocene.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Cathleen Webb

Disciplines

Chemistry | Geology

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