Paleoenvironmental Coring of Samoan Lakes

In what may be the world’s tardiest research update…

Our fabulous core team. You really got to like the people you work with to spend 10 hours with then on an 8 m2 platform in the middle of a lake.

Last September, Matthew Prebble, Paul Augustinus, Jennifer Hayman and I transported a Uwitech coring system to Samoa to extract sediment cores from Lake Lanoto in eastern ‘Upolu. Our goal is to generate a Holocene and earlier environmental record as part of our Marsden study on the development of agriculture and social complexity in Samoa.

We extracted about 11 m of core and this should get us back past the Holocene, but we haven’t done any dating yet. The cores were split with half to Paul’s lab at the University of Auckalnd for ITRAX scanning and half to colleagues at ETF Zurich were a host of analyses, including 210Pb and 14C dating, and human, pig, taro biomarkers. We should be able to report on preliminary results soon.


Jen, Paul, and Mat taking 1 cm samples from our surface water core.

Yes, I’m happy we got these suckers out of the lake bed and into the ute.

This was a complicated undertaking and owes much to the support of the Centre for Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa. Our work should also fit into the accelerating research linking detailed paleoclimate studies and human activities in the ancient Pacific. Check out related work by David Sear, Melinda Allen, Janelle Stevenson

Nice work, if you can get it.