Postglacial geomorphic development of the Buchanan Drainage, a small tributary to the South Skunk River, is reconstructed by documenting relationships among four allostratigraphic units and 17 radiocarbon dates. Formation and headward expansion of the valley was both episodic and time-transgressive. Response to downstream conditions in the South Skunk River largely controlled the early formation of the basin. Downcutting through Pleistocene deposits produced a gravelly lag deposit that was buried by alluvium in the downstream portion of the valley during the early Holocene (10,500-7700 yr B.P.). Lag deposits formed in a similar manner continued to develop in the upper portion of the drainageway into the late Holocene (3000-2000 yr B.P.). Episodes of aggradation during the middle Holocene (7700-6300 yr B.P.) and late Holocene (3000-2000 yr B.P.) were separated by a period of soil formation. Holocene geomorphic events in the drainageway coincide with some vegetational and climatic changes as documented in upland pollen sequences from central Iowa. Analysis of plant macrofossil assemblages recovered from alluvium indicates that during the middle Holocene forest contracted and prairie expanded into the uplands within the basin. Vegetational changes within the basin apparently had only minor influence on rates of hillslope erosion, and the widely accepted relationship between prairie (versus forest) vegetative cover and increased rates of hillslope erosion did not hold. Instead, greater amounts of erosion occurred under forested conditions when local water tables were higher and seepage erosion was more effective. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Postglacial response of a stream in central Iowa to changes in climate and Drainage basin factors