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Paleobiology of the Sand Beneath the Valders Diamicton at Valders, Wisconsin

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Louis J. Maher Jr.
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706
Norton G. Miller
Biological Survey, New York State Museum, Albany, New York, 12230
Richard G. Baker
Department of Geology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 52240
B.Brandon Curry
Illinois State Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, Illinois, 61820
David M. Mickelson
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706


Previously undescribed pollen, plant macrofossils, molluscs, and ostracodes were recovered from a 2.5-m-thick glaciolacustrine unit of silty sand and clay at Valders, Wisconsin. The interstadial sediment was deposited about 12,200 14C yr B.P. after retreat of the Green Bay lobe that deposited diamicton of the Horicon Formation, and before advance of the Lake Michigan lobe that deposited the red-brown diamicton of the Valders Member of the Kewaunee Formation. Fluctuations of abundance of Candona subtriangulata, Cytherissa lacustris, and three other species define four ostracode biozones in the lower 1.7 m, suggesting an open lake environment that oscillated in depth and proximity to glacial ice. Pollen is dominated by Picea and Artemisia, but the low percentages of many other types of long-distance origin suggest that the terrestrial vegetation was open and far from the forest border. The upper part of the sediment, a massive sand deposited in either a shallow pond or a sluggish stream, contains a local concentration of plant macrofossils. The interpretation of a cold open environment is supported by the plant macrofossils of more than 20 species, dominated by those of open mineral soils ( Arenaria rubella, Cerastium alpinum type, Silene acaulis, Sibbaldia procumbens, Dryas integrifolia, Vaccinium uliginosum var. alpinum, Armeria maritima, etc.) that in North America occur largely in the tundra and open tundra–forest ecotone of northern Canada. Ice-wedge casts occur in the sand.

Research Article
University of Washington

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