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50,000 years of vegetation and climate history on the Colorado Plateau, Utah and Arizona, USA

Quaternary Research

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2008.04.006

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Abstract

Sixty packrat middens were collected in Canyonlands and Grand Canyon National Parks, and these series include sites north of areas that produced previous detailed series from the Colorado Plateau. The exceptionally long time series obtained from each of three sites (> 48,000 14C yr BP to present) include some of the oldest middens yet discovered. Most middens contain a typical late-Wisconsinan glaciation mixture of mesic and xeric taxa, evidence that plant species responded to climate change by range adjustments of elevational distribution based on individual criteria. Differences in elevational range from today for trees and shrubs ranged from no apparent change to as much as 1200 m difference. The oldest middens from Canyonlands NP, however, differ in containing strictly xeric assemblages, including middens incorporating needles of Arizona single-leaf pinyon, far north of its current distribution. Similar-aged middens from the eastern end of Grand Canyon NP contain plants more typical of glacial climates, but also contain fossils of one-seed juniper near its current northern limit in Arizona. Holocene middens reveal the development of modern vegetation assemblages on the Colorado Plateau, recording departures of mesic taxa from low elevation sites, and the arrival of modern dominant components much later.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
50,000 years of vegetation and climate history on the Colorado Plateau, Utah and Arizona, USA
Series title:
Quaternary Research
DOI:
10.1016/j.yqres.2008.04.006
Volume
70
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Description:
17 p.
First page:
322
Last page:
338
Country:
United States
State:
Arizona, Utah
Other Geospatial:
Canyonlands Park, Grand Canyon National Park
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N