Fish remains from Homestead Cave and lake levels of the past 13,000 years in the Bonneville basin

Jack M. Broughton, David B. Madsen, Jay Quade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


A late Quaternary ichthyofauna from Homestead Cave, Utah, provides a new source of information on lake history in the Bonneville basin. The fish, represented by 11 freshwater species, were accumulated between ~11,200 and ~1000 14C yr B.P. by scavenging owls. The 87Sr/86Sr ratio of Lake Bonneville varied with its elevation; 87Sr/86Sr values of fish from the lowest stratum of the cave suggest they grew in a lake near the terminal Pleistocene Gilbert shoreline. In the lowest deposits, a decrease in fish size and an increase in species tolerant of higher salinities or temperatures suggest multiple die-offs associated with declining lake levels. An initial, catastrophic, post-Provo die-off occurred at 11,300-11,200 14C yr B.P. and was followed by at least one rebound or recolonization of fish populations, but fish were gone from Lake Bonneville sometime before ~10,400 14C yr B.P. This evidence is inconsistent with previous inferences of a near desiccation of Lake Bonneville between 13,000 and 12,000 14C yr B.P. Peaks in Gila atraria frequencies in the upper strata suggest the Great Salt Lake had highstands at ~3400 and ~1000 14C yr B.P. (C) 2000 University of Washington.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-401
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Fish remains
  • Great Salt Lake
  • Holocene
  • Lake Bonneville
  • Lake-level fluctuations
  • Terminal Pleistocene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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