Sharing Lake Surprise

It is no longer a surprise how ancient lakes in the western US -- such as Lake Surprise -- managed to become so large. Research undertaken by Daniel Ibarra, a graduate student working at the time with Kate Maher, assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences, showed that the root cause was a lower rate of evaporation than we see today.

The mass spectrometry methods used for the analyses in this project required a great deal of development, particularly during the early stages of the project. Not all of those laboratory methods had been fully documented or made public.

But now they have.

"The SDR provided a venue to permanently archive these methods," said Ibarra, now a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Earth System Sciences.

Pilot studies for the work were undertaken by Ibarra for undergraduate honors and masters theses projects, but the final work was published this June in Geological Society of America Bulletin. The journal required that some of the underlying data and methods be shared, but other portions of the now available data were shared by choice. "We did so to fully document the analytical techniques used in the study…[and] to make the data accessible for easy data manipulation by future researchers interested in our work," Ibarra commented.

To share the data, Ibarra chose the SDR because of its preservation capabilities and the ability to upload many types of files. The new Pleistocene Lake Surprise collection contains supplemental data, extended analytical methods, data tables, a pre-print of the GSA article, both the undergraduate honors and masters theses, a conference poster, and a conference presentation.

A further description of the research can be found in this Stanford News article.

This Data Story was written by Amy Hodge.

Find out more about the data featured in this Data Story.