Professor of Physics and Environmental Science
  • Otsego Lake in winter

  • Coring Otsego Lake - yep, it's muddy!

  • An approximately 800-year-old twig from the sediments of Otsego Lake

  • Sediment cores from Otsego Lake, the dark band between 30 and 80 cm in the center core corresponds to a strong GPR reflector and likely lake lowstand.

Research at Otsego Lake, New York

In collaboration with my old friend and colleague Dr. Les Hasbargen (SUNY Oneonta) I have been collecting samples and data from Otsego lake in Upstate New York. After two field seasons we have collected several sediment cores and have conducted a dozen ground-penetrating-radar (GPR) surveys. Some of our cores are dated, and the dateable sediment record covers approximately 9,000 years. Our cores consist of carbonate-rich (marl) sediments with plenty of shells and some plant fossils which had been deposited on top of clastic, partially varved silt and clay.

GPR profile extending from the shoreline (left) approximately 250 m into the lake. The first reflector is the ice surface, the next, curved reflector represents the lake bottom, while lower reflectors represent various changes in sediment properties.
GPR profile extending from the shoreline (left) approximately 230 m into the lake. The first reflector is the ice surface, the next, curved reflector represents the lake bottom, while lower reflectors represent various changes in sediment properties.

We are currently characterizing the magnetic properties of the weakly magnetized marl section. Concentration-dependent susceptibility and IRM correlate well with the abundance of clastic material (as quantified through X-ray diffraction, XRD), while grain-size dependent parameters, such as frequency-dependent susceptibility χ FD % and ARM/IRM track the abundance of (likely) biogenic magnetite and may be a proxy of biological productivity through time.