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Late Quaternary loess and soils on uplands in the Canyonlands and Mesa Verde areas, Utah and Colorado

  • Marith C. Reheis (a1), Harland L. Goldstein (a1), Richard L. Reynolds (a1), Steven L. Forman (a2), Shannon A. Mahan (a1) and Paul E. Carrara (a1)...


Thin loess deposits on the uplands of the southeastern Colorado Plateau have previously not been well studied. We sampled deposits and soils from trenches on Hatch Point (HP) mesa near Canyonlands National Park, Utah, and from two outcrops in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. At HP, the oldest buried unit yielded 2 optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages of 10,370 and 7555 yr; the middle unit yielded 10 OSL ages from 6220 to 1385 yr; and the youngest unit had a single age of 1740 yr. At Mesa Verde (MV), three loess units are preserved in the two outcrops we examined; 6 OSL ages range from 51 to 17 ka. At least one buried soil is present between two units with ages of about 50 and 40 ka. The ages of the loess units in both study areas correspond well with OSL-dated dune sands in Canyonlands National Park and with dune sands on Black Mesa, Arizona. Particle-size distribution combined with chemical and magnetic data indicate that HP loess was derived mostly from nearby sandstone sources with a small component of far-traveled atmospheric dust, whereas MV loess was sourced both from the nearby sandstone and the San Juan River and its tributaries.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: U.S. Geological Survey, MS-980, Federal Center, Box 25046, Denver, Colorado 80225, USA. E-mail address: (M.C. Reheis).


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Late Quaternary loess and soils on uplands in the Canyonlands and Mesa Verde areas, Utah and Colorado

  • Marith C. Reheis (a1), Harland L. Goldstein (a1), Richard L. Reynolds (a1), Steven L. Forman (a2), Shannon A. Mahan (a1) and Paul E. Carrara (a1)...


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