Limnogeology and the biggest little city in the world…by Jack Lacey

Jack, Jonathan and Melanie in downtown Reno.
In June, scientists from around the world gathered in Reno, Nevada (USA) for the 6thInternational Limnogeology Congress (ILIC6) to present and discuss their multi-disciplinary research on lake sediment records. Centre for Environmental Geochemistry PhD student Jack Lacey reports on the meeting and tells us about his experience…

The International Association of Limnogeology hosts a conference every four years and this time the meeting was held in Reno - the "biggest little city in the world". Over 150 limnogeologists, geologists, limnologists, palaeontologists and geochronologists travelled to the Peppermill Casino Resort to discuss the latest in lake-based research; the UK-BGS contingent comprised myself, Melanie Leng and Jonathan Dean.

Jack presenting part of his PhD research on Lake Ohrid.
The conference programme was centred on several invited keynote talks, which covered a highly interesting and broad range of topics and timescales including climate impacts on the human occupation of Mesoamerica, assessing natural hazards (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis), and advances in the use of isotopes in diatom silica in lake research (Melanie's presentation).

In addition to the keynotes, poster sessions were also held that provided a great opportunity to network with other scientists. I presented some of my recently published work on a pilot core from Lake Ohrid, a high-resolution record covering the last 12,000 years, and in conjunction with Melanie, showcased our new 630,000 year isotope record from Lake Ohrid as part of the Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid (SCOPSCO) project.

Mid-week the group took a break from presentations and posters and went on a field trip to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is on the border between Nevada and California and has exceptionally clear water due to its relatively small drainage basin. We had a whistle-stop tour of several sites around the lake and also visited the Tahoe Science Centre, which had an impressive outreach programme including a 3D movie about the lake's geological past.

ILIC6 conference delegates at Lake Tahoe, photo courtesy of Sudeep Chandra.
After the conference was over I had a spare day before my flight back to the UK, so hired a Ford Mustang and went for a drive! I managed to see quite a few spectacular places, including Mono Lake, Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake, as well as visiting Bodie - an old mining ghost town.

Tufa towers at Mono Lake.
Overall the conference was a great trip, I listened to many engaging presentations and discussed lots of exciting research that is being carried out on lakes from the Arctic to Patagonia. I had never been to the US before, and can thoroughly recommend visiting the Tahoe area for its lakes, mountains and fantastic scenery. I very much look forward to the next ILIC meeting, in Argentina!

View out across Lake Tahoe from Incline Village.
@JackHLacey (BGS BUFI-funded student at the University of Nottingham within the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry)