In Search of Climate Change Beneath Lake Elsinore

Researcher cores lake bottom to unlock SoCal weather clues

Post Date:06/03/2010 7:15 PM

Dr. Steve Lund, CSUF, assists with coring of Lake bottomThe sediment beneath Lake Elsinore is a virtual time machine and Dr. Matthew Kirby, CSUF, is drilling into the Lake bottom in search of what it says about climate change in southern California 50,000 years ago...

This is the only underwater drilling news story you will see in the newspaper next week that has a good outcome.

Since 2006, Dr. Matthew Kirby, a researcher from California State University Fullerton, has been studying the geological record beneath Lake Elsinore. His mission: to search for clues about climate change in southern California. Read the original 2006 research paper by Dr. Kirby.

"This drilling project is going to be really exciting," according to Dr. Kirby, "Just one hole starting at about 9 meters...going 30-50 meters back."

Back in time, that is. From 9,000 years ago to 50,000 years ago. Can you say Holocene?

Let's rewind to 2006, when Dr. Kirby last ventured onto the Lake to take core samples beneath the Lake bottom.

At that time, Kirby was in search of clues from the geologic record about past seismic activity.

According to Pat Kilroy, Lake and Aquatic Resources Director for Lake Elsinore, another surprise was found instead: Lake Elsinore has experienced extreme drought cycles, causing the Lake to go completely dry numerous times in the past several thousand years.

According to Dr. Kirby, "The seismic interpretation is pretty much near completion [and will be ready] to present to LESJWA later this spring."

Incidently, the Lake Elsinore and San Jacinto Watersheds Authority (LESJWA) has been working to improve Lake water quality since 2000, when it was first authorized by California voters and given $15 million in funding, but that is another story.

Next week, Kirby's research team will deploy a large floating drilling rig on the Lake to deep core the Lake for more evidence of climate change in southern California. They plan to stay active between Monday and Friday (June 7-11).In search of Climate Change through geological record coring beneath Lake Elsinore

The rig operated by Gregg Drilling will stay in just one place in the deepest area of the Lake (near Docking Station 1) as part 2 of Dr. Kirby's seismic project.

City officials have extended an invitation for the news media to come out to the Lake for a close up look and a good story opportunity, so please check your local newspapers for more about this unique quest in search of...sediments as ancient weather reports.


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