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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Submerged Tree Stumps as Indicators of Mid-Holocene Aridity in the Lake Tahoe Region


The surface elevation of Lake Tahoe has in the past stood considerably lower than its present level for long periods of time. To support this statement, existing paleoenvironmental evidence and historical documentation of lower lake levels is reviewed. The magnitude of drops in the level of Lake Tahoe is presented in light of new evidence involving (1) a series of radiocarbon dates on tree stumps drowned by the rising waters of Lake Tahoe; and (2) submerged archaeological features in the lake. The implications of the mid-Holocene lowstands of Lake Tahoe are discussed in terms of local and regional paleoclimatic and archaeological trends.

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