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Oxygen isotope records of goethite from ferricrete deposits indicate regionally varying holocene climate change in the Rocky Mountain region, U.S.A.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Derek J. Sjostrom*
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Michael T. Hren
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
C. Page Chamberlain
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
*
*Corresponding author. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59101 USA. Fax: +1-406-259-9751.E-mail address:sjostrom@alum.dartmouth.org (D.J. Sjostrom).

Abstract

Oxygen isotopes of goethite from ferricrete deposits were measured from both northern and southern Rocky Mountain localities to assess geographic variability in regional Holocene paleoclimate change. A ∼3.7‰ increase in oxygen isotope values of 14C-dated goethites in the northern Rocky Mountains suggests a regional-scale relative increase in amounts of isotopically heavy summer precipitation since the early Holocene. In contrast, oxygen isotope values from the southern Rocky Mountains increase abruptly ∼2.1‰ at ∼6200 14C yr B.P. then decrease ∼2.4‰ between ∼2000 14C yr B.P. and the present. We interpret this period of relatively high δ18O values as evidence for a middle Holocene warm period combined with a relatively strong summer monsoon. These variable climate records suggest that the Rocky Mountains of the western United States have had a spatially heterogeneous Holocene climate history.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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Oxygen isotope records of goethite from ferricrete deposits indicate regionally varying holocene climate change in the Rocky Mountain region, U.S.A.
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