Mark Abbott | Department of Geology and Environmental Science (2023)

Our group combines studies of stratigraphy with geochemical, biogeochemical and stable isotopic analysis to investigate questions regarding climate change and human history. One of the fundamental questions we currently face is how will future climate and environmental change impact society. To answer these questions we need to look further back in time than we are able to do using the instrumental records. Sediments from lakes, bogs and wetlands are found worldwide and provide layered archives that can be analyzed and dated. We combine field and laboratory work to document and date late Quaternary climate changes from lake sediments and other terrestrial deposits, such as glacial features and bogs. The emphasis of my current research program is to identify and recover core samples from lakes that contain climate information recorded at annual resolution. Paleoclimate based temperature and drought reconstruction that document thousands of years of climate and environmental information are helpful for better understand how the earth’s climate system works as well as providing an archive of regional climatic variability.

Research Areas

  • Paleoclimate and Environmental Change
  • Hydrologic Processes

*Finkenbinder, M.S., Abbott, M.B., Ortiz, J.S., *Larsen, D., Stoner, J.S., Finney, B.P., Dorfman, J.M., and Stansell, N.D. (in review.). Millennial-Scale Variability in Holocene Climate from Burial Lake, Arctic Alaska. Global and Planetary Change.

*Finkenbinder, M.S., Abbott, M.B., and Steinman, B.A. (in revision). North Atlantic Ocean-atmosphere Controls on Holocene Climate Change in Newfoundland Reconstructed Using Multi-proxy Analysis of Lake Sediment Cores. (Global and Planetary Change).

**Anderson, L., Berkelhammer, M., Barron, J., *Steinman, B.A., Finney, B.P., and Abbott, M.B. (2016). Lake Oxygen Isotopes as Recorders of North American Rocky Mountain Hydroclimate: Holocene Patterns and Variability at Multi-Decadal to Millennial Time Scales. Global and Planetary Change 137, 131-148.

*Hillman, A.L., Abbott, M.B., Yu, J.Q., Steinman, B.A., and Bain, D.J. (2016). The Isotopic Response of Lake Chenhai to Hydrologic Modification from Human Activity. The Holocene. DOI: 10.1177/0959683615622553.

*Larsen, D., *Finkenbinder, M.S., Abbott, M.B. and *Ofstun, A., (2016). Deglaciation and Postglacial Environmental Changes in the Teton Mountain Range Recorded at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, WY. Quaternary Science Reviews 138, 62-73.

*Steinman, B.A., *Pompeani, D.P., Abbott, M.B., Ortiz, J.D., *Stansell, N.D., *Finkenbinder, M.S., Mihindukalasooriya, L. and *Hillman, A.L. (2016). Oxygen isotope records of Holocene climate variability in the Pacific Northwest. Quaternary Science Reviews 142, 40-60.

Barreiro-Lostres, F., Brown, E., Moreno, A, Morellón, M., Abbott, M, *Hillman, A., Giralt, S., and Valero-Garcés, B. (2015). Sediment Delivery and Lake Dynamics in a Mediterranean Mountain Watershed: Human-Climate Interactions During the Last Millennium (El Tobar Lake Record, Iberian Range, Spain). Science of the Total Environment 533, 506-519.

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Dorfman, J.M., Stoner, J.S., *Finkenbinder, M.S., Abbott, M.B., Xuan, C., and St-Onge, G. (2015). A 37,000-year Environmental Magnetic Record of Aeolian Dust Deposition from Burial Lake, Arctic Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 128, 81-97.

*Finkenbinder, M.S., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B.P., Stoner, J.S., and Dorfman, J.M. (2015). A Multi-proxy Reconstruction of Environmental Change Spanning 37,000 Years from Burial Lake, Arctic Alaska. Quaternary Science Reviews 126, 227-241.

*Hillman, A.L., Abbott, M.B., Yu, J.Q., Bain, D.J., and Chiou-Pen, T.H. (2015). Environmental Legacy of Copper Metallurgy and Mongol Silver Smelting Recorded in Yunnan Lake Sediments. Environmental Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1021/es50493r.

Mihindukulasooriya, L.N., Ortiz, J.D., *Pompeani, D.P., *Steinman, B.A., and Abbott, M.B. (2015). Reconstruction of Late Quaternary Paleohydrologic Conditions in Southeastern British Columbia Using Visible Derivative Spectroscopy of Cleland Lake Sediment. Quaternary Research 83, 531-544.

*Pompeani, D.P., Abbott, M.B., Bain, D.J., DePasqual, S., and *Finkenbinder, M.S. (2015). Copper Mining on Isle Royal 6,500-5,400 Years Ago Identified Using Sediment Geochemistry from McCargoe Cove, Lake Superior. The Holocene 25, 253-262.

Finkenbinder, M.S. Abbott, M.B., Steinman, B.A., Edwards, M.E., Langdon, C.T., and Finney, B.P. (2014). A 31,000 Year Record of Paleoenvironmental and Lake-Level Change from Harding Lake, Alaska, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews 87, 98-113.

Hillman, A.L., Yu, J.Q., Abbott, M.B., Cooke, C.A., Bain, D.J., and Steinman, B.A. (2014). Rapid Environmental Change During Dynastic Transitions in Yunnan Province, China. Quaternary Science Reviews.

Rodbell, D.T., Delman, E.M., Abbott, M.B., Besonen, M.T., and Tapia, P.M. (2014). The Heavy Metal Contamination of Lake Junin National Reserve, Peru: An Unintended Consequence of the Juxtaposition of Hydroelectricity and Mining, GSA Today.

Stansell, N.D., Polissar, P.J., Abbott, M.B., Bezada, M., Steinman, B.A., and Braun, C. (2014). Proglacial Lake Sediment Records Reveal Holocene Climate Changes in the Venezuelan Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 89, 44-55.

Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Mann, M.E., Ortiz, J.D., Song, F., Stansell, N.D., Anderson, L.A., Finney, B.P., and Bird, B.W. (2014). Ocean-Atmosphere Forcing of Centennial Hydroclimate Variability in the Pacific Northwest. Geophysical Research Letters. 10.1002/2014GL059499.

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Polissar, P.J, Abbott, M.B., Wolfe, A.P. Vuille, M, and Bezada, M. (2013). Synchronous Interhemispheric Holocene Climate Trends in the Tropical Andes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.7073/pnas.1219681110.

Pompeani, D.P., Abbott, M.B., Steinman, B.A. and Bain, D.J. (2013). Lake Sediments Record Prehistoric Lead Pollution Related to Early Copper Production in North America. Environmental Science and Technology DOI: 10.1021/es304499c.

Stansell, N.D., Rodbell, D.T., Abbott, M.B. and Mark, B.G. (2013). Proglacial Lake Sediment Records of Holocene Climate Change in the Western Cordillera of Peru. Quaternary Science Reviews 70, 1-14.

Stansell, N.D., Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Rubinov, M. and Roman-Lacayo, M. (2013). Lacustrine Stable Isotope Record of Precipitation Changes in Nicaragua During the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly. Geology. DOI: 10.1130/G33736.1.

Steinman, B.A. and Abbott, M.B. (2013). Isotopic and Hyrdologic Responses of Small, Closed Lakes to Climate Variability: Hydroclimate Reconstructions from Lake Sediment Oxygen Isotope Records and Mass Balance Models. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 105, 342-359.

Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Nelson, D.B., Stansell, N.D., Finney, B.P. Bain, D.J. and Rosenmeier, M.F. (2013). Isotopic and Hyrdologic Responses of Small, Closed Lakes to Climate Variability: Comparison of Measured and Modeled Lake Level and Sediment Core Oxygen Isotope Records. Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta 105, 455-471.

Rodbell, D.T., Abbott, M.B. and the 2011 ICDP Lake Junin Working Group (2012). Workshop on the Drilling of Lake Junin, Peru: Potential for Development of a Continuous Tropical Climate Record. Scientific Drilling 13. DOI: 10.2204/

Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Mann, M.E., Stansell, N.D. and Finney, B.P. (2012). 1500-year Quantitative Reconstruction of Precipitation in the Pacific Northwest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1201083109.

Vuille, M., Burns, S.J., Taylor, B.L., Cruz, F.W., Bird, B.W., Abbott, M.B., Kanner, L.C., Cheng, H. and Novello, V.F. (2012). A Review of the South American Monsoon History as Recorded in Stable Isotopic Proxies Over the Past Two Millennia. Climate of the Past Discussions 8, 637-668.

Bird, B.W., Abbott, M.B., Rodbell, D.T. and Vuille, M. (2011). Holocene Tropical South America Hydroclimate Revealed from a Decadally Resolved Lake Sediment d18O Record. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 310, 192-202.

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Bird, B.W., Abbott, M.B., Vuille, M., Rodbell, D.T., Stansell, N.D. and Rosenmeier, M.F. (2011). A 2300 Year Long Annually Resolved Record of the South American Summer Monsoon from the Peruvian Andes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003719108.

Cooke, C.A., Balcom, P.H., Kerfoot, C., Abbott, M.B. and Wolfe, A.P. (2011). Pre-Columbian Mercury Pollution Associated with the Smelting of Argentiferous Ores in the Bolivian Andes. Ambio 40, 18-25. DOI 10.1007/s13280-010-0086-4.

Nelson, D.B., Abbott, M.B., Steinman, B., Polissar, P.J., Stansell, N.D., Ortiz, J.D., Rosenmeier, M.F., Finney, B.P. and Riedel, J. (2011). Drought variability in the Pacific Northwest from a 6,000-yr lake sediment record. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1009194108.

Arnold, T.E., *Hillman, A.L., Abbott, M.B. Werne, J., McGrath, S.J., and Arkush, L., (2021). Drought and the Collapse of the Tiwanaku Civilization. Quaternary Science Reviews 251. doi/org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106693.

*Hillman, A.L., O’Quinn, R.O., Abbott, M.B., and Bain, D.J. (2020). A Holocene History of the Indian Monsoon from Qilu Lake, Southwestern China. Quaternary Science Reviews 227, 106501.

*Pompeani, D., *Steinman, B.A., Abbott, M.B., Pompeani, K.M., Reardon, W., DePasqual, S., and Mueller, R.H. (2021). On the Timing of the Old Copper Complex in North America: A Comparison of Radiocarbon Dates from Different Archeological Contexts. Radiocarbon 00, 1-19. DOI 10.1017/RDC.2021.7.

*Steinman, B.A., *Nelson, D.B., Abbott, M.B., *Stansell, N.D., *Finkenbinder, F.S., and Finney, B.P. (2019). Lake Sediment Records of Holocene Hydroclimate and Impacts of the Mount Mazama Eruption, North-Central Washington, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews 204, 17-36.

*Woods, A., Rodbell, D.T., Abbott, M.B., Hatfield, R., Chen, C., McGee, D., *Lehmann, S.B., *Weidhaas, IV, N., Tapia., P.M., Valero Garces, B.L., and Stoner, J. (2020). Andean Drought and Glacial Retreat Tied to Greenland Warming During the Last Glacial Period. Nature Communications 11.

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GEOL 0800 Geology

Geology is the study of how the Earth works. This class covers the classification and origin of basic rocks and minerals; examines the role of plate tectonics in shaping the Earth and producing such hazards as earthquakes and volcanoes; and examines the forces that shape beaches and rivers and sometimes threaten our lives and property. We also survey the evidence for changing climate and the future of such resources as groundwater, fossil fuels, and ores.

GEOL 1052 Paleoclimatology

The goal of this course is to present an overview of the methods used to reconstruct the earth's climate history and the techniques used to determine the timing of environmental changes. Paleoclimate data from proxy records, such as ice cores or tree rings, provides a longer perspective on climatic variability than is possible from instrumental or historical records. Particular emphasis will be given to the climatic changes during the late Cenozoic - the time of the ice ages. Topics to be discussed will include: paleoclimatic reconstruction, climate and climatic variation, dating methods, ice cores, marine sediments and corals, lake sediments, speleothems, soils, pollen analysis, dendrochronology, documentary data, and paleoclimate models.

GEOL 1060 Geomorphology

A lecture and laboratory course involving examination of terrestrial landforms and the surficial processes, which shape them. Fluvial, Coastal, Aeolian, Glacial and Volcanic settings will be examined with emphasis on landforms that have developed in the last 10,000 years of earth history. This course is of particular interest to those majoring in geology, anthropology and engineering.

GEOL 3925 Topics in Geology: Paleolimnology

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This graduate class will focus on the study lake sediments as archives of climatic change. Lake deposits form a significant part of the geologic record and contain high-resolution records of past climatic and environmental changes in continental environments. Because lake deposits are the product of diverse geochemical experiments they provide a framework to discuss numerous problems, which are of general interest in both chemical sedimentology and general sedimentology. Readings assigned from current journal articles.

GEOL 3931 Topics in Paleoenvironmental Analysis

This course will provide students with a review of recent advances in the field of paleoenvironmental analysis. Scheduled course meetings will consist of brief lectures and/or student presentations addressing specific paleoenvironmental indicators and discussion of significant developments in the use of the environmental archive. The pace and depth of material covered will be determined by interest level and time needed for comprehensive treatment of techniques.


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