Palynomorph assemblages from eight geologic formations in the Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain, ranging in age from latest Miocene to Early Pleistocene, have been interpreted in terms of terrestrial paleoclimates. The data suggest that a warm-temperate to subtropical climate, warmer than at present, prevailed at the close of the Miocene and the beginning of the Pliocene. At that time, there was little or no temperature gradient within the study area (36??30??? to 39??N). This warm period was followed by a warm-temperate interval in Virginia and North Carolina, with temperatures probably not very different from those of today, although a slight warming trend probably occurred during the deposition of the Colerain Beach Member of the Chowan River Formation. A definite cool interval is indicated by the presence of spruce pollen in the Bacons Castle Formation of Virginia. This interval is interpreted to have begun about 2.3-2.4 Ma, or possibly slightly later, simultaneous with the cooling that has been recorded in deep-sea cores of the North Atlantic Ocean, and in the pre-Tiglian of western Europe. This was followed by a warmer-than-present period that may be correlated with the Tiglian of the latest Pliocene. Finally, palynological data from the Cape May Formation of New Jersey suggest that a warm-temperate (warmer than at present) climate prevailed during the Early Pleistocene. ?? 1991.
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Palynological evidence for late miocene, pliocene and early pleistocene climate changes in the middle U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain