School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


The second field season concentrates upon two sites - Honey Camp and the New River Lagoon.
The aim of this season is to obtain multiple, long cores from both these lagoons.

It is hoped that such deep samples will contain tephra (volcanic ash). Documented historic volcanic eruptions such as El Chichón in Mexico and Ilo pango in Honduras can be identified from the chemistry of the glass deposits. As such, ash layers can provide a precise dating control

Offering vessel discovered at Lamanai Samples from New River Lagoon may show evidence of past human activity from the nearby Maya site of Lamanai. This settlement's name is thought to derive from Ancient Mayan, meaning "sunken crocodile". The crocodile is a common feature of artefacts found in and around the temples, such as this offering vessel unearthed during excavations led by David Pendergast and Elizabeth Graham. Image copyright © Elizabeth Graham, used with permission.

In the second field season, the use of additional coring equipment (a Kullenberg corer) provides samples which, although shorter (a maximum of 2 metres in length) preserve the sediment-water interface. Such cores are particularly suitable for dating techniques which use short-lived istopes such as Lead-210. Such detailed dating will help establish the accumulation rate of sediment in the lagoon.

This picture shows a magnified image of the diatom Mastogloia smithii var lacustris, as seen under a microscope. This diatom, approximately 30 µm in length, is very common in the cores taken from New River Lagoon. Light microscope picture of a diatom

Additional modern diatom sampling and water chemistry measurement have been made from lagoons across Belize. This information is being used to enlarge and refine our knowledge of the environmental preferences of diatoms. For many of the diatoms found in Belize, these relationships are still poorly understood.

This study of environmental change in the tropical wetlands combines modern and historical evidence. It is hoped that the data gathered will advance our understanding of natural and human induced climate change in Belize.

The project runs until March 2001.

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