Late Holocene sedimentation in a high Arctic coastal setting: Simpson Lagoon and Colville Delta, Alaska Academic Article uri icon


  • Arctic coastal environments near major river outfalls, like Simpson Lagoon, Alaska and the adjacent Colville River Delta, potentially contain high-resolution sediment records useful in elucidating late Holocene Arctic sediment transport pathways and coupled terrestrial-ocean evidence of paleoclimate variability. This study utilizes a multi-tracer geochronology approach (137Cs, 239,240Pu, and 14C) tailored for high-latitude environments to determine the age models for cores collected from Simpson Lagoon, and to date seismic boundaries in shallow acoustic reflection data (CHIRP) to examine late Holocene infill patterns. Modern (~100y) sediment accumulation rates range from <0.02 to 0.460.04cmy-1, with a primary depocenter in western Simpson Lagoon adjacent to the Colville Delta and a secondary depocenter in eastern Simpson Lagoon. CHIRP reflectors, age-constrained by 14C analysis, reveal rapid late Holocene (0-3500y BP) transgression consistent with high modern shoreline retreat rates. The western depocenter contains >5m of late Holocene interbedded sediments, likely derived primarily from the Colville River, with onset of accumulation occurring prior to ~3500y BP. A paleo-high in central Simpson Lagoon, separating the two depocenters, was subaerially exposed prior to ~600y BP. The millimeters-per-year sedimentation rates across the lagoon, coupled with the undisturbed, interbedded sediment record, indicate that these settings hold great potential to develop new Arctic paleoenvironmental records. 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Hanna, A., Allison, M. A., Bianchi, T. S., Marcantonio, F., & Goff, J. A.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Hanna, Andrea JM||Allison, Mead A||Bianchi, Thomas S||Marcantonio, Franco||Goff, John A

publication date

  • February 2014