Pliocene and early Pleistocene environments and climates of the western Snake River Plain, Idaho

Marine Micropaleontology


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Sedimentological, palynological, and magnetic susceptibility data provide paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic information from a 989 ft (301 m) core of sediments from the upper Glenns Ferry and Bruneau Formations from near the town of Bruneau, Idaho. Chronology is based on stratigraphic position, paleomagnetism, and biostratigraphic data. Palynological data from the Glenns Ferry sediments reveal a pollen flora similar to the modern regional pollen flora, with very rare occurrences of now-extirpated taxa common earlier in the Tertiary. Palynological data from the Pliocene portion of this core indicate conditions more moist than today, with cooler summers and perhaps warmer winters. The pollen spectra from the Bruneau Formation sediments resemble those of the Wisconsinan glacial period on the Snake River Plain, and hence indicate cold and dry conditions during some portion of the early Pleistocene. The deep-water Glenns Ferry lacustrine episode appears to date between approximately 3.5 to 3.3 and 2.5 Ma, and thus occurred during the middle Pliocene period of warmer-than-modern global temperatures. Similar sustained wetter-than-present conditions occurred in the same age range at sites across the western USA. This moist period was apparently followed by an interval of regional arid conditions that persisted for several hundred thousand years. -from Author

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pliocene and early Pleistocene environments and climates of the western Snake River Plain, Idaho
Series title Marine Micropaleontology
Volume 27
Issue 1-4
Year Published 1996
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Marine Micropaleontology
First page 141
Last page 156