The abrupt millennial-scale changes associated with the Younger Dryas (YD) event ("chronozone") near the dawn of the Holocene are at least hemispheric, if not global, in extent. Evidence for the YD cold excursion is abundant in Europe but fairly meager in central North America. We are engaged in an investigation of high-resolution environmental changes in mid-North America over several millennia (about 10,000 to 14,000 BP) during the Late Glacial-Early Holocene transition, including the YD interval. Several sites containing logs or stumps have been identified and we are in the process of initial sampling or re-sampling them for this project. Here, we report on a site in central Illinois containing a deposit of logs initially thought to be of YD age preserved in alluvial sands. The assemblage of wood represents hardwood (angiosperm) trees, and the ring-width characteristics are favorable to developing formal tree-ring chronologies. However, 4 new radiocarbon dates indicate deposition of wood may have taken place over at least 8000 14C yr (6000-14,000 BP). This complicates the effort to develop a single floating chronology of several hundred years at this site, but it may provide wood from a restricted region over a long period of time from which to develop a sequence of floating chronologies, the timing of deposition and preservation of which could be related to paleoclimatic events and conditions.
Additional publication details
Tree-ring records of near-Younger Dryas time in central North America - Preliminary results from the Lincoln quarry site, central Illinois, USA