Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 331–347 | Cite as

Climate influences on water and sediment properties of Genovesa Crater Lake, Galápagos

  • Jessica L. Conroy
  • Diane M. Thompson
  • Aaron Collins
  • Jonathan T. Overpeck
  • Mark B. Bush
  • Julia E. Cole
Original paper


Genovesa Crater Lake is a remote, hypersaline lake in the northern Galápagos archipelago that contains a finely laminated sediment record. This sediment record has the potential to provide a high-resolution history of past climate variability in the eastern tropical Pacific. Here we present modern climate, lake, and sediment observations from 2009 to 2012 to explore how local climate variability influences Genovesa Crater Lake and its sediments. Surface lake temperature is strongly linked to air temperature and is highly seasonal. Temperature stratification is strongest during the warm season, whereas temperature becomes more uniform through the water column in the cool season. Deeper and earlier mixing occurred during the 2010 La Niña, which subsequently delayed 2011 cool season mixing and maximum warm season surface temperatures in 2011 and 2012. Lake salinity changes are influenced by precipitation, evaporation and persistent seawater influx. The largest declines in subsurface salinity follow months after the rainy season, when temperatures cool and fresher surface water from the previous warm/wet season mixes into the subsurface. Between 2009 and 2012, more calcium carbonate precipitated during a period of higher salinity. The period of highest calcium carbonate abundance measured in sediment records that span the late nineteenth to twentieth century coincides with the failure of two consecutive rainy seasons in 1988 and 1989 as well as the coldest monthly sea surface temperature measured at Puerto Ayora in 1989. More calcium carbonate-rich laminae from AD 1550 ± 70 to 1675 ± 90 may indicate a greater frequency of prolonged droughts or cooler temperatures, although enhanced productivity may also modulate carbonate precipitation. More Ca-rich laminae in Genovesa coincide with dry conditions inferred from other Galápagos sediment proxies, as well as prolonged dry and cool conditions inferred from reconstructions of the Southern Oscillation Index and NINO3 sea surface temperatures.


ENSO Hypersaline lake Galápagos Tropical Pacific 



We are grateful for field assistance from T. Damassa, H. Barnett, S. Truebe, M. Miller, N. d’Ozouville, R. Pepolas, D. Ruiz, A. Tudhope, M. Wilson, C. Chilcot, and M. Parrales. We also thank P. Colinvaux and M. Steinitz-Kannan for helpful comments and useful advice. This research was supported by NSF-RAPID-1256970 to JTO, NOAA NA07OAR4310058 to MBB, and NSF-0957881 to JEC. We thank the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galápagos National Park for logistical support, the captains and crews of the vessels La Pirata and Queen Mabel, and The University of Arizona Department of Geosciences and AMS Facility for additional funding and radiocarbon measurements.

Supplementary material

10933_2014_9797_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 62 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (14.5 mb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 1 A) Photos of Genovesa cores used in this study, with key tie points noted. B) Scatterplot and equations for cores versus core GU-6. C) Graphical depiction of light, Ca-rich layer in four surface cores where it was found (other cores lost the uppermost sediment during coring). D) Correlation for uppermost, extruded sediments of cores GU-6 and GU-4 using Si and Sr/Ca ratios (PDF 14876 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (236 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 2 A-C) Genovesa sediment traps containing sediment from 28 November 2009 to 5 June 2010. A) 3 m sediment trap, B) 7 m sediment trap, and C) 25 m sediment trap. D-F) Genovesa sediment traps containing sediment from 6 June 2010 to 29 September 2012. D) 3 m sediment trap, E) 7 m sediment trap, and F) 25 m sediment trap (PDF 236 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (13.3 mb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 3 Transmitted-light thin-section photograph of Genovesa sediment and associated XRF maps of elemental intensities plotted in colorized grayscale. Lighter colors indicate higher abundance of the elements. Maps are grouped by elements that covary (Ca and Sr, S and K) (PDF 13589 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (471 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 4 A) Plot of daily precipitation amount (mm/day) from Genovesa (red), Puerto Ayora (black, Charles Darwin Foundation), and TRMM 3B42 product (green, Kummerow et al. 1998) for the 0.25° x 0.25° grid cell containing Genovesa. B) Monthly precipitation from Genovesa, Puerto Ayora, Puerto Ayora and TRMM, 2009-2012 C) precipitation measurements from Genovesa and Puerto Ayora, January to May 1978-1988 (Grant and Grant 1989). D) Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz monthly rainfall (black, mm/day), E) calculated evaporation (red, mm/day), F) SST (blue,  °C), and G) Global Ocean Data Assimilation (Behringer and Xue 2004) sea surface height anomalies (orange, m). Gray bar highlights persistent dry period from 1987-1990 (PDF 471 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (193 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 5 Climate and lake variables. A) scatterplot of daily air temperature and daily surface temperature in Genovesa. B) Relationship between near-surface salinity and precipitation (axis flipped for comparison with salinity) (PDF 193 kb)
10933_2014_9797_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (259 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material Fig. 6 Probability density function of Ca abundance, 7-m salinity, and NINO1 + 2 values during the two sediment trap time periods (30 November 2009-5 June 2010, black, and 5 June 2010-29 September 2012, gray): Histograms of A) Ca (cps) in sediment traps from 3, 7, and 25 m. B) 7 m salinity (ppt) C) NINO1 + 2 values (°C) (PDF 259 kb)


  1. Appleby PG (2001) Chronostratigraphic techniques in recent sediments. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments. Volume 1: basin analysis, coring, and chronological techniques. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 171–203Google Scholar
  2. Blaauw M, Christen JA (2011) Flexible paleoclimate age-depth models using an autoregressive gamma process. Bay Anal 6:457–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Behringer DW, Xue Y (2004) Evaulation of the global ocean data assimilation system at NCEP: The Pacific Ocean. Eighth Symposium on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface, AMS 84th Annual Meeting, Seattle, WAGoogle Scholar
  4. Cobb KM, Westphal N, Sayani HR, Watson JT, Di Lorenzo E, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Charles CD (2013) Highly variable El Nino–Southern Oscillation throughout the Holocene. Science 339:67–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cockburn JMH, Lamoureux SF (2008) Inflow and lake controls on short-term mass accumulation and sedimentary particle size in a High Arctic lake: implications for interpreting varved lacustrine sedimentary records. J Palelimnol 40:923–942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colinvaux PA (1968) Reconnaissance and chemistry of lakes and bogs of the Galapagos Islands. Nature 219:590–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colinvaux PA (1969) Paleolimnological investigations in the Galapagos Archipelago. Mitt Intern Ver Limnol 17:126–130Google Scholar
  8. Collins M, An SI, Cai WJ, Ganachaud A, Guilyardi E, Jin FF, Jochum M, Lengaigne M, Power S, Timmermann A, Vecchi G, Wittenberg A (2010) The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific ocean and El Niño. Nat Geosci 3:391–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Conroy JL, Overpeck JT, Cole JE, Shanahan TM, Steinitz-Kannan M (2008) Holocene changes in eastern tropical Pacific climate inferred from a Galápagos lake sediment record. Quat Sci Rev 27:1166–1180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Conroy JL, Restrepo A, Overpeck JT, Steinitz-Kannan M, Cole JE, Bush M, Colinvaux PA (2009) Unprecedented recent warming of surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Nat Geosci 2:46–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conroy JL, Cobb KM, Noone D (2013) Comparison of precipitation isotope variability across the tropical Pacific in observations and SWING2 model simulations. J Geophys Res-Atmos 118:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deser C, Phillips AS, Alexander MA (2010) Twentieth century tropical sea surface temperature trends revisited. Geophys Res Lett 37:L10701. doi: 10.1029/2010GL043321 Google Scholar
  13. Dominguez F, Canon J, Valdes J (2010) IPCC-AR4 climate simulations for the Southwestern US: the importance of future ENSO projections. Clim Change 99:499–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Donders TH, Wagner-Cremer F, Visscher H (2008) Integration of proxy data and model scenarios for the mid-Holocene onset of modern ENSO variability. Quat Sci Rev 27:571–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gieskes JM, Rogers WC (1973) Alkalinity determination in interstitial waters of marine sediments. J Sediment Res 43:272–277Google Scholar
  16. Goodman D (1972) The paleoecology of the Tower Island Bird Colony: A critical examination of complexity-stability theory. The Ohio State University, Columbus, p 174Google Scholar
  17. Graham NE, Hughes MK, Ammann CM, Cobb KM, Hoerling M, Kennett DJ, Kennet JP, Rein B, Stott L, Wigand PE, Xu T (2007) Tropical Pacific-mid-latitude teleconnections in medieval times. Clim Change 83:241–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Graham NE, Ammann CM, Fleitmann D, Cobb KM, Luterbacher J (2011) Support for global climate reorganization during the “Medieval Climate Anomaly”. Clim Dyn 37:1217–1245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grant BR, Grant PR (1989) Evolutionary dynamics of a natural population: the large cactus finch of the Galápagos. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 350 ppGoogle Scholar
  20. Guilyardi E, Bellenger H, Collins M, Ferrett S, Cai W, Wittenberg A (2013) A first look at ENSO in CMIP5. Clivar Exch 17:29–32Google Scholar
  21. Harpp KS, Wirth KR, Korich DJ (2002) Northern Galapagos Province: hotspot-induced, near-ridge volcanism at Genovesa Island. Geology 30:399–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hedges REM, Law IA, Bronk CR, Housley RA (1989) The Oxford accelerator mass-spectrometry facility: technical developments in routine dating. Archaeometry 31:99–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Howmiller R (1969) Studies on some inland waters of the Galápagos. Ecology 50:73–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Khider D, Stott LD, Emile-Geay J, Thunell R, Hammond DE (2011) Assessing El Nino Southern Oscillation variability during the past millennium. Paleoceanography 26. PA3222. doi: 10.1029/2011PA002139
  25. Kienel U, Plessen B, Schettler G, Weise S, Pinkerneil S, Bohnel H, Englebrecht AC, Haug GH (2013) Sensitivity of a hypersaline crater lake to the seasonality of rainfall, evaporation, and guano supply. Fundam Appl Limnol 183:135–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koutavas A, DeMenocal PB, Olive GC, Lynch-Stieglitz J (2006) Mid-Holocene El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) attenuation revealed by individual foraminifera in eastern tropical Pacific sediments. Geology 34:993–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kummerow C, Barnes W, Kozu T, Shiue J, Simpson J (1998) The tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) sensor package. J Atmos Ocean Tech 15:809–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leduc G, Vidal L, Tachikawa K, Bard E (2009) ITCZ rather than ENSO signature for abrupt climate changes across the tropical Pacific? Quat Res 72:123–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liu ZY, Vavrus S, He F, Wen N, Zhong YF (2005) Rethinking tropical ocean response to global warming: the enhanced equatorial warming. J Clim 18:4684–4700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mann ME, Zhang ZH, Rutherford S, Bradley RS, Hughes MK, Shindell D, Ammann C, Faluvegi G, Ni FB (2009) Global signatures and dynamical origins of the little ice age and medieval climate anomaly. Science 326:1256–1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McCutcheon SC, Martin JL, Barnwell TO (1993) Water quality. In: Maidment DR (ed) Handbook of hydrology. McGraw-Hill, New York, p 11.13Google Scholar
  32. McGregor HV, Fischer MJ, Gagan MK, Fink D, Phipps SJ, Wong H, Woodroffe CD (2013) A weak El Niño/Southern Oscillation with delayed seasonal growth around 4,300 years ago. Nat Geosci. doi: 10.1038/NGEO1936 Google Scholar
  33. McPhaden MJ, Zebiak SE, Glantz MH (2006) ENSO as an integrating concept in Earth science. Science 314:1740–1745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Meehl GA, Teng HY (2007) Multi-model changes in El Niño teleconnections over North America in a future warmer climate. Clim Dyn 29:779–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mitchell TP, Wallace JM (1992) The annual cycle in equatorial convection and sea-surface temperature. J Clim 5:1140–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morse JW, Wang QW, Tsio MY (1997) Influences of temperature and Mg:Ca ratio on CaCO3 precipitates from seawater. Geology 25:85–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moy CM, Seltzer GO, Rodbell DT, Anderson DM (2002) Variability of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the Holocene epoch. Nature 420:162–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mucci A (1983) The solubility of calcite and aragonite in seawater at various salinities, temperatures, and one atmosphere total pressure. Am J Sci 283:780–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reimer PJ, Bard E, Bayliss A, Beck JW, Blackwell PG, Ramsey CB, Buck CE, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Friedrich M, Grootes PM, Guilderson TP, Haflidason H, Hajdas I, Hatte C, Heaton TJ, Hoffmann DL, Hogg AG, Hughen KA, Kaiser KF, Kromer B, Manning SW, Niu M, Reimer RW, Richards DA, Scott EM, Southon JR, Staff RA, Turney CSM, van der Plicht J (2013) INTCAL13 and MARINE13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55:1869–1887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Restrepo A, Colinvaux PA, Bush M, Correa-Metrio A, Conroy J, Gardener MR, Jaramillo P, Steinitz-Kannan M, Overpeck JT (2012) Impacts of climate variability and human colonization on the vegetation of the Galápagos. Ecology 93:1853–1866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reynolds RW, Rayner NA, Smith TM, Stokes DC, Wang WQ (2002) An improved in situ and satellite SST analysis for climate. J Clim 15:1609–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Riedinger MA, Steinitz-Kannan M, Last WM, Brenner M (2002) A ~ 6100 C-14 yr record of El Niño activity from the Galapagos Islands. J Palelimnol 27:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sachs JP, Sachse D, Smittenberg RH, Zhang ZH, Battisti DS, Golubic S (2009) Southward movement of the Pacific intertropical convergence zone AD 1400–1850. Nat Geosci 2:519–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seager R, Graham N, Herweijer C, Gordon AL, Kushnir Y, Cook E (2007) Blueprints for medieval hydroclimate. Quat Sci Rev 26:2322–2336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Seddon AWR, Froyd CA, Leng MJ, Milne GA, Willis KJ (2011) Ecosystem resilience and threshold response in the Galapagos coastal zone. Plos One 6. e22376. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022376
  46. Shuttleworth WJ (1993) Evaporation. In: Maidment DR (ed) Handbook of hydrology. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp 4.1–4.53Google Scholar
  47. Snell H, Rea S (1999) The 1997–98 El Niño in the Galápagos: can 34 years of data estimate 120 years of pattern? Not Galap 60:11–20Google Scholar
  48. Thompson DM.(2013) Variability and trends in the tropical Pacific and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation inferred from coral and lake archives. Department of Geosciences. PhD dissertation. The University of ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  49. Tierney JE, Oppo DW, Rosenthal Y, Russell JM, Linsley BK (2010) Coordinated hydrological regimes in the Indo-Pacific region during the past two millennia. Paleoceanogr 25. doi: 10.1029/2009PA001871
  50. Tokinaga H, Xie SP, Deser C, Kosaka Y, Okumura YM (2012) Slowdown of the Walker circulation driven by tropical Indo-Pacific warming. Nature 491. doi: 10.1038/nature11576
  51. Trenberth KE, Branstator GW, Karoly D, Kumar A, Lau NC, Ropelewski C (1998) Progress during TOGA in understanding and modeling global teleconnections associated with tropical sea surface temperatures. J Geophys Res-Oceans 103:14291–14324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Trick JK, Stuart M, Reeder S (2008) Contaminated groundwater sampling and quality control of water analyses. In: De Vivo B, Belkin H, Lima A (eds) Environmental geochemistry: site characterization, data analysis and case histories. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 29–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Trueman M, d’Ozouville N (2010) Characterizing the Galápagos terrestrial climate in the face of global climate change. Galáp Res 67:26–37Google Scholar
  54. Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007) Global warming and the weakening of the tropical circulation. J Clim 20:4316–4340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Walter LM (1986) Relative efficiency of carbonate dissolution and precipitation during diagenesis: a progress report on the role of solution chemistry. In: Gautier DL (ed) Roles of organic matter in sediment diagenesis. SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) Special Publication 38:1–12Google Scholar
  56. Werner A, Stelzer R (1990) Physiological responses of the mangrove Rhizophora mangle grown in the absence and presence of NaCl. Plant, Cell Environ 13:243–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Woodruff SD, Worley SJ, Lubker SJ, Ji ZH, Freeman JE, Berry DI, Brohan P, Kent EC, Reynolds RW, Smith SR, Wilkinson C (2011) ICOADS release 2.5: extensions and enhancements to the surface marine meteorological archive. Int J Climatol 31:951–967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yan H, Sun LG, Wang YH, Huang W, Qiu SC, Yang CY (2011) A record of the Southern Oscillation Index for the past 2,000 years from precipitation proxies. Nat Geosci 4:611–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yeh SW, Ham YG, Lee JY (2012) Changes in the tropical Pacific SST Trend from CMIP3 to CMIP5 and Its implication of ENSO. J Clim 25:7764–7771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zhong SJ, Mucci A (1989) Calcite and aragonite precipitation from seawater solutions of various salinities: precipitation rates and overgrowth compositions. Chem Geol 78:283–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhu XJ, Liu ZY (2009) Tropical SST response to global warming in the twentieth century. J Clim 22:1305–1312CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica L. Conroy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diane M. Thompson
    • 3
    • 4
  • Aaron Collins
    • 5
  • Jonathan T. Overpeck
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  • Mark B. Bush
    • 5
  • Julia E. Cole
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA
  6. 6.Department of Atmospheric SciencesThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  7. 7.Institute of the EnvironmentThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations