Mercyhurst College

Department of Geology



Professional Interests
I'm a limnogeologist - I use lake sediment records to reconstruct past landscapes and climate. This area of research is strongly interdisciplinary; lake sediments are the final product of the interplay between lake ecosystems, regional climate and weather, watershed runoff, and intralake sediment dynamics. Furthermore, sediment archives are used to recontruct climate, past human-landscape interaction, paleo-tectonic activity, and trends in local environmental contamination. Most recently I have become interested in annually resolvable records of continental ice sheet retreat (glacial varves) and their potential to reconstruct paleohydrology, particularily megafloods, and ice sheet retreat when the earth was undergoing pronounced global warming. More about this research can be found to the left under 'current projects'.

2006 Ph.D. Geology, Univ. of Minnesota
Dissertation: Lake Superior’s Varve Stratigraphy: a record of regional ice margin dynamics and Lake Agassiz overflow
1999 M.S. Geology, Univ. of Minnesota
Thesis:  Using Paleolimnological Methods to Document Maya Landscape Alterationoverflow
1999 B.S. Geology, Purdue University, IN

Peer Reviewed Publications
Breckenridge, A., et al. submitted A post-Minong transgression in Lake Superior as documented in sediments from Fenton Lake, ON. Journal of Paleolimnology

Breckenridge, A., and T.C. Johnson, 2009.  Paleohydrology of the upper Laurentian Great Lakes from the late Glacial to early Holocene. Quaternary Research

Breckenridge, A., 2007. Lake Superior varve stratigraphy and implications for eastern Lake Agassiz outflow from 10,700 to 9,040 cal ybp (9.5-8.1 14C ka). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 246, 45-61.

Breckenridge, A., Johnson, T.C., Beske-Diehl, S., and J.S. Mothersill, 2004.  The timing of regional late glacial events and post-glacial sedimentation rates from Lake Superior. Quaternary Science Reviews 23 (23-24), 2355-2367.

Johnston, K. J., Breckenridge, A. J., and B. C. Hansen, 2002.  Paleoecological Evidence of an Early Postclassic Occupation in the Southwestern Maya Lowlands: Laguna Las Pozas, Guatemala.  Latin American Antiquity 12(2), 149-166.

Recent Abstracts (last four years)

Breckenridge, A., Lowell, T., and J. Stroup. 2008. “The Glacial Lake Ojibway varve stratigraphy and implications for final drainage”, poster presentation, AGU fall meeting

*Stroup, J., Lowell, T., and A. Breckenridge. “Changes in Stratigraphy across the Lake Ojibway basin”, poster presentation, AGU fall meeting.

Breckenridge, A., Lowell, T., and J. Stroup. 2008. “A review of the Glacial Lake Ojibway varve stratigraphy”, poster presentation, AMQUA meeting, Penn State University.

Breckenridge. A. 2008. “The late Mattawa flood (ca. 9,100 cal yr BP) in the Upper Laurentian Great Lakes”, oral presentation, North-Central GSA, Buffalo, NY.

*Golab, J., and A. Breckenridge, 2008. The relationship between grain size variation and the retreat of the Laurentice Ice Sheet taken from Lake Superior Core BH02-5P”, poster presentation, North-Central GSA, Buffalo, NY.

*McCoy, C. and A. Breckenridge, 2008. A reconstruction and analysis of Pleistocene beach ridges in Northwestern Pennsylvania using ArcGIS”, poster presentation, North-Central GSA, Buffalo, NY.

Breckenridge, A., Lowell, T., Fisher, T., and S. Yu, 2007. “A post-Minong (Lake Superior) transgression recorded in Fenton Lake, Ontario, ca. 9,000 cal BP (8.1 14C ka)”, oral presentation, CANQUA-Ottawa.

Breckenridge, A., Lowell, T., and T. Fisher (2006). “A revised stratigraphy fromFenton Lake, Ontario: evidence for northern drainage of Lake Superior prior to 9,000 cal BP (8.1 14C ka), poster presentation, 10th International Paleolimnology Symposium, Duluth, MN.

Breckenridge, A., 2006. “New findings about rhythmite sedimentation and isotopic composition in Superior basin and implications for Huron and Michigan basins”, Workshop on Great Lakes sensitivity of hydrologic response to paleoclimatic change, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Breckenridge, A., 2006. “A review of the glacial varve record from Lake Superior: recent developments, unresolved questions, and future prospects”, oral presentation, North Central GSA annual meeting, Akron, Ohio.

Breckenridge, A., and T.C. Johnson, 2005.  “Paleohydrology of Lake Agassiz and the upper Great Lakes from 10,700 to 8,800 CAL YBP [9,500-7,900 14C YBP]”, oral presentation, CANQUA 2005, Winnipeg, MB.

Breckenridge, A. and T.C. Johnson, 2005.  “Lake Superior’s oxygen isotope record suggests overflow to Lake Ojibway between 10,000 and 9,400 Cal BP”, oral presentation, Institute on Lake Superior Geology annual meeting, Nipigon, ON.

Breckenridge, A., Johnson, T.C., and S. Colman, 2005.  “Late-glacial paleohydrology of Lake Agassiz and the upper Great Lakes: Insights from Lake Superior's oxygen isotope record”, oral presentation, North Central GSA annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

* Student presentation

Canoe Tripping
I can't imagine anything more fun than setting out with my wife for a 30 day canoe trip across the Canadian wilderness. Our longest trip was a 72 day trip from Minnesota to Hudson Bay, completed the summer we engaged. My favorite trip was a 54 day trip in 2005 up to the barrendlands of northern Canada, where we followed the route of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, one of Canada's greatest geologists and explorers. More information about some of our canoe trips is found to the right. Feel free to send me an email if you'd like more info about any of these routes.

Canoe Trips