Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Nicholas Balascio

Committee Members

James Kaste

Randolph Chambers

William D'Andrea


This study investigates the isolation sequence of several coastal lakes in the Lofoten Islands, northern Norway to understand how relative sea level has changed during the Late Holocene. I use established methods to assess changes in marine influence over the course of the lake records. Three cores ranging from 47 to 174 cm and spanning portions of the last 8000 cal yr BP were analyzed. I measured bulk density, bulk organic matter properties, and elemental profiles from scanning X-ray fluorescence. These characteristics of the sediment reflect detailed changes in salinity and water column conditions as the lakes became isolated. Three distinct lithostratgiraphic units were identified in Inner Borgpollen and represent an open marine phase where the basins were continually inundated marine water (3500 – 1600 cal yr BP), a brackish phase characterized by intermittent marine influence (1600 – 600 cal yr BP), and a tidal phase characterized by restricted marine influence (600 cal yr BP to present). The timing of these phases generally corresponds with previous interpretations of the local relative sea-level history and these records capture sea-level regression during the late Holocene which coincided with human settlements. As a result, changing salinity conditions due to the isolation process may explain the settlement patterns of early human populations between 1600 and 600 cal yr BP.

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