Sediments of the Alamosa Formation spanning the upper part of the Gauss and most of the Matuyama Chrons were recovered by coring in the high (2300 m) San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado. The study site is located at the northern end of the Rio Grande rift. Lithologic changes in the core sediments provide evidence of events leading to integration of the San Luis drainage basin into the Rio Grande. The section, which includes the Huckleberry Ridge Ash (2.02 Ma) and spans the entire Matuyama Chron, contains pollen, and invertebrate and vertebrate fossils. Stable isotope analyses of inorganic and biogenic carbonate taken over most of the core indicate substantially warmer temperatures than occur today in the San Luis Valley. At the end of the Olduvai Subchron, summer precipitation decreased, summer pan evaporation increased, and temperatures increased slightly compared to the earlier climate represented in the core. By the end of the Jaramillo Subchron, however, cold/wet and warm/dry cycles become evident and continue into the cold/wet regime associated with the deep-sea oxygen-isotope Stage 22 glaciation previously determined from outcrops at the same locality. Correspondence between the Hansen Bluff climatic record and the deep-sea oxygen-isotope record (oxygen-isotope stages from about 110-18) is apparent, indicating that climate at Hansen Bluff was responding to global climatic changes. ?? 1992.
Additional publication details
Pliocene and Pleistocene geologic and climatic evolution in the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado