Stable isotopes and soil-geomorphology as indicators of Holocene climate change, northern Chihuahuan Desert

TitleStable isotopes and soil-geomorphology as indicators of Holocene climate change, northern Chihuahuan Desert
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsBuck B.J, H. Monger C
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume43
Pagination357-373
Date Published1999
Accession NumberJRN00292
Call Number00741
Keywordsarticle, articles, climate change, geomorphology, climate change, isotopes, geomorphology, climate change, geomorphology, isotopes, Holocene, climate change, journal, journals, soil, geomorphology
Abstract

Coeval ä13 C shifts recorded in buried soils at both piedmont slope and basin floor sites in the northern Chihuahuan Desert indicate a major shift from C4 grasses to C3 desert-scrub between 7 and 9 ka. The age assignments are based on stratigraphic correlations to charcoal dates and carbon-14 dates of carbonate. This shift is synchronous with a period of cooling in the North Atlantic that may have triggered a period of drought in the southwestern United States. Coinciding with this vegetation change, geomorphic evidence in Rio Grande, piedmont, and basin floor eolian environments indicates a major period of erosion. Subsequent gradual enrichment of pedogenic carbonate ä13 C values in younger deposits suggests that C4 grasses rebounded in the late Holocene (approximately 4 ka), which is consistent with other evidence of increased moisture regionally. A period of less severe aridity at approximately 2.2 ka is indicated by erosion and subsequent deposition along the alluvial fans and within the basin, and correlates with depleted pedogenic carbonate ä13 C values suggesting a decrease in C4 grasses. Isotope and packrat midden records should be used together to infer past environmental conditions at different elevations.

URLfiles/bibliography/JRN00292.pdf
DOI10.1006/jare.1999.0584
Reprint EditionIn File (12/13/2000)