Pleistocene-Holocene climate of the Estancia Basin, central New Mexico
Lawrence N. Smith and Roger Y. Anderson


The climatic significance of the shorelines of the ancient Lake Estancia, situated between the Pedernal Hills to the east and the Manzano Mountains to the west, was first recognized by Meinzer (1911). Hy-drologic modeling, for the estimation of past climates in the western United States, began with Lake Estancia (Leopold, 1951). Since then, additional hydrologic models of Lake Estancia have been developed (Antevs, 1954; Harbour, 1958; Lyons, 1969; Galloway, 1970; Brack-enridge, 1978). Also, dditional shorelines have been recognized (Lyons, 1969; Titus, 1969; Bachhuber, 1971, this guidebook). Estimates of climate during high lake stands, based on these models, range from reduced temperature and precipitation to more than a doubling of present precipitation.
Previous modeling studies either did not have information about the elevation of the highest shorelines or did not know the probable age of the shorelines. These uncertainties have contributed to the wide range of climatic estimates. This article briefly describes the hydrologic system and its controls, summarizes shoreline information, examines previous estimates of climate, and presents revised climatic estimates based on a simple hydrologic model.


  1. Smith, Lawrence N.; Anderson, Roger Y., 1982, Pleistocene-Holocene climate of the Estancia Basin, central New Mexico, in: Albuquerque Country II, Grambling, J. A.; Wells, S. G., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 33rd Field Conference, pp. 347-350.

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