Coastal Massachusetts Pond Development - Edaphic, Climatic, and Sea-Level Impacts since Deglaciation

TitleCoastal Massachusetts Pond Development - Edaphic, Climatic, and Sea-Level Impacts since Deglaciation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsWinkler, MG, Sanford, PR
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Date PublishedNov
Accession NumberWOS:A1995TD95100008

Kettle ponds in the Cape Cod National Seashore in southeastern Massachusetts differ in their evolution due to depth of the original ice block, the clay content of outwash in their drainage basins, and their siting in relation to geomorphic changes caused by sea-level rise, barrier beach formation, and saltmarsh development. Stratigraphic records of microfossil, carbon isotope, and sediment changes also document late-glacial and Holocene climatic changes.The ponds are separated into 3 groups, each of which follow different development scenarios. Group I ponds date from the late-glacial. They formed in clay-rich outwash, have perched aquifers and continuous lake sediment deposition. The earliest pollen and macrofossil assemblages in Group I pond sediments suggest tundra and spruce-willow parklands before 12 000 yr B.P., boreal forest between 12 000 and 10 500 yr B.P., bog/heath initiation and expansion during the Younger Dryas between 11 000 and 10 000 yr B.P., northern conifer forest between 10 500 and 9500 yr B.P., and establishment of the Cape oak and pitch pine barrens vegetation after 9500 yr B.P. Sedimentation rate changes suggest lowered freshwater levels between 9000 and 5000 yr B.P. caused by decreased precipitation on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Lake sediment deposition began in the middle Holocene in Group II ponds which formed in clay-poor outwash. These ponds date from about 6000-5000 yr B.P. In these ponds sediment deposition began as sea level rose and the freshwater lens intersected the dry basins. The basal radiocarbon dates of these ponds and stable carbon isotope analyses of the pond sediments suggest a sea-level curve for Cape Cod Bay. Holocene topographic changes in upland and the landscape surrounding the ponds is reconstructed for this coastal area.Group III ponds in the late Holocene landscape of the Provincelands dunes originated as interdunal bogs about 1000 yr B.P. and became ponds more recently as water-levels increased. Feat formation in the Provincelands reflects climatic changes evident on both sides of the Atlantic region.