Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy




climate, data, records, sediment, thickness


Understanding how today’s climate affects certain processes on Earth allows scientists to construct paleoclimate conditions in an ongoing attempt to comprehend how our Earth is changing. By examining climate proxies, or indirect indicators of climate, and calibrating them to instrument data, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how climatic conditions control the climate proxy. With this knowledge, longer records, which continue back into the past further than instrument data, can be examined and climatic conditions determined. Glaciolacustrine sediments hold excellent proxy climate records. The thickness and pattern of these records can be calibrated to instrument data to provide a reliable, high resolution climate record. For this project, sediment from a lake in south-central Alaska, Skilak Lake, were taken and analyzed. An attempt was made to calibrate these laminated sediments to instrument data. The sediment was laminated. The sediment records from LI3 and LI4 were fairly consistent with each other in terms of the patterns of lamina thickness as did the records from Prox 8 and Prox 12. When compared to the climate data obtained from Kenai Municipal Airport, the sediment layer thickness correlated poorly with both the mean July and August and the mean July temperature. This either suggests that the mean temperature is not the main control on the thickness of the lamina or that the lamina are not annual varves, but contain sub-annual events. While a reliable climate proxy was not created in this project, one surely exists in the sediment. Taking a closer look at the potential causes of sub-annual layers or other factors that could control lamina thickness, like summer and winter precipitation, would certainly provide a more clear interpretation of the laminations present at Skilak.