To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In September 2016, the annual meeting of the International Union for Quaternary Research’s Loess and Pedostratigraphy Focus Group, traditionally referred to as a LoessFest, met in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. The 2016 LoessFest focused on “thin” loess deposits and loess transportation surfaces. This LoessFest included 75 registered participants from 10 countries. Almost half of the participants were from outside the United States, and 18 of the participants were students. This review is the introduction to the special issue for Quaternary Research that originated from presentations and discussions at the 2016 LoessFest. This introduction highlights current understanding and ongoing work on loess in various regions of the world and provides brief summaries of some of the current approaches/strategies used to study loess deposits.
The chronology and cause of millennial depositional oscillations within last glacial loess of the Central Lowlands of the United States are uncertain. Here, we present a new age model that indicates the Peoria Silt along the Illinois River Valley accumulated episodically from ~28,500 to 16,000 cal yr BP, as the Lake Michigan Lobe margin fluctuated within northeastern Illinois. The age model indicates accelerated loess deposition coincident with regional glacial advances during the local last glacial maximum. A weakly developed paleosol, the Jules Geosol, represents a period of significantly slower deposition, from 23,700 to 22,000 cal yr BP. A gastropod assemblage-based reconstruction of mean July temperature shows temperatures 6–10°C cooler than modern during Peoria Silt deposition. Stable oxygen and carbon isotope values (δ18O and δ13C) of gastropod carbonate do not vary significantly across the pedostratigraphic boundary of the Jules Geosol, suggesting slower loess accumulation was a result of reduced glacial sediment supply rather than direct climatic factors. However, a decrease in δ18O values occurred between 26,000 and 24,000 cal yr BP, synchronous with the Lake Michigan Lobe’s southernmost advance. This δ18O decrease suggests a coupling of regional summer hydroclimate and ice lobe position during the late glacial period.
Magnetic susceptibility (MS) patterns have proven useful for regional stratigraphic correlations of zones within thick, oxidized Peoria and Roxana Silts along the Illinois and Central Mississippi River valleys for more than 350 km. Variations in MS of C horizon loess are controlled by silt-sized magnetite content and are interpreted to reflect changes in sediment provenance due to fluctuations of the Superior and Lake Michigan glacier lobes and the diversion of the Mississippi River to its present course. Grain size distributions and scanning electron microscopic observations indicate that stratigraphic changes in MS are not significantly influenced by eolian sorting or diagenetic dissolution, respectively. Three compositional zones (lower, middle, and upper) are delineated within Peoria Silt which usually can be traced in the field by MS, the occurrence of clay beds, interstadial soils, and/or subtle color changes. These zones can be correlated with, but are generally of more practical use than, previously studied dolomite zones (McKay, 1977) or clay mineral zones (Frye et al.,1968). However, mineralogical analyses can help to substantiate zone boundaries when in question. MS and compositional zones may indirectly record a climatic signal, primarily through the effect that global cooling has had on ice lobe fluctuations in the Upper Mississippi drainage basin.
Valleys tributary to the Mississippi River contain fossiliferous slackwater lake sediment (Equality Formation) deposited in response to aggradation of the Mississippi River valley during the last glaciation. In the St. Louis Metro East area, the lower part of the Equality Formation is primarily laminated, fossiliferous silt and clay deposited from about 44,150 to 24,310 14C yr B.P. The upper Equality Formation is primarily very fine sand to silt deposited from about 21,200 to 17,000 14C yr B.P. Among the four cores that sample this succession in the St. Louis Metro East area, core MNK-3 (38.64EN, 90.01EW) was selected for detailed study. Three sources are distinguished by the following characteristics: (1) gray smectite-quartz-Se-rich, feldspar-poor material of the Des Moines, Wadena, and James lobes; (2) reddish brown kaolinite–Cu–Fe-rich sediment of the Superior and Rainy lobes; and (3) brown illite–dolomite–Sr-rich sediment of the Lake Michigan and Green Bay lobes. The earliest sediments (44,150 to 41,700 14C yr B.P.) were derived from the central and western provenances and are chronocorrelative with the lower Roxana Silt. A hiatus occurred from about 41,700 to 29,030 14C yr B.P. when much of the middle Roxana Silt (Meadow Member) was deposited on adjacent uplands. The youngest sediment includes evidence of heightened activity of the Superior Lobe at about 29,000 14C yr B.P., the Lake Michigan and Green Bay lobes from about 25,000 to 24,000 14C yr B.P., and the Wadena-Des Moines-James lobes at about 21,000 14C yr B.P.
During the last deglaciation temperatures over midcontinental North America warmed dramatically through the Bølling-Allerød, underwent a cool period associated with the Younger-Dryas and then reverted to warmer, near modern temperatures during the early Holocene. However, paleo proxy records of the hydroclimate of this period have presented divergent evidence. We reconstruct summer relative humidity (RH) across the last deglacial period using a mechanistic model of cellulose and leaf water δ18O and δD combined with a pollen-based temperature proxy to interpret stable isotopes of sub-fossil wood. Midcontinental RH was similar to modern conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum, progressively increased during the Bølling-Allerød, peaked during the Younger-Dryas, and declined sharply during the early Holocene. This RH record suggests deglacial summers were cooler and characterized by greater advection of moisture-laden air-masses from the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent entrainment over the mid-continent by a high-pressure system over the Laurentide ice sheet. These patterns help explain the formation of dark-colored cumulic horizons in many Great Plains paleosol sequences and the development of no-analog vegetation types common to the Midwest during the last deglacial period. Likewise, reduced early Holocene RH and precipitation correspond with a diminished glacial high-pressure system during the latter stages of ice-sheet collapse.
The origin of Illinois Episode (OIS 6) glacial ridges (formerly: ‘Ridged Drift’) in the Kaskaskia Basin of southwestern Illinois is controversial despite a century of research. Two studied ridges, containing mostly fluvial sand (OSL ages: ~ 150 ± 19 ka), with associated debris flows and high-angle reverse faults, are interpreted as ice-walled channels. A third studied ridge, containing mostly fine-grained till, is arcuate and morainal. The spatial arrangement of various ridge types can be explained by a glacial sublobe in the Kaskaskia Basin, with mainly fine-grained ridges along the sublobe margins and coarse-grained glaciofluvial ridges in a paleodrainage network within the sublobe interior. Illinois Episode till fabric and striation data demonstrate southwesterly ice flow that may diverge near the sublobe terminus. The sublobe likely formed as glacial ice thinned and receded from its maximum extent. The Kaskaskia Basin contains some of the best-preserved Illinois Episode constructional glacial landforms in the North American midcontinent. Such distinctive features probably result from ice flow and sedimentation into this former lowland, in addition to minimal postglacial erosion. Other similar OIS 6 glacial landforms may exist in association with previously unrecognized sublobes in the midcontinent, where paleo-lowlands might also have focused glacial sedimentation.
In order to assess open-system behavior of radiocarbon in fossil gastropod shells, we measured the 14C activity on 10 aliquots of shell material recovered from Illinoian (~190–130 ka) and pre-Illinoian (~800 ka) loess and lacustrine deposits in the Midwestern USA. Eight of the 10 aliquots yielded measurable 14C activities that ranged from 0.25 to 0.53 percent modern carbon (pMC), corresponding to apparent 14C ages between 48.2 and 42.1 ka. This small level of open-system behavior is common in many materials that are used for 14C dating (e.g. charcoal), and typically sets the upper practical limit of the technique. Two aliquots of gastropod shells from the Illinoian-aged Petersburg Silt (Petersburg Section) in central Illinois, USA, however, yielded elevated 14C activities of 1.26 and 1.71 pMC, which correspond to apparent 14C ages of 35.1 and 32.7 ka. Together, these results suggest that while many fossil gastropods shells may not suffer from major (>1%) open-system problems, this is not always the case. We then examined the mineralogy, trace element chemistry, and physical characteristics of a suite of fossil and modern gastropod shells to identify the source of contamination in the Petersburg shells and assess the effectiveness of these screening techniques at identifying samples suitable for 14C dating. Mineralogical (XRD) and trace element analyses were inconclusive, which suggests that these techniques are not suitable for assessing open-system behavior in terrestrial gastropod shells. Analysis with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), however, identified secondary mineralization (calcium carbonate) primarily within the inner whorls of the Petersburg shells. This indicates that SEM examination, or possibly standard microscope examination, of the interior of gastropod shells should be used when selecting fossil gastropod shells for 14C dating.
A review is presented of recent neutron diffraction studies of silicate and borate glasses, using a combination of steady-state reactor and pulsed neutron sources. The samples studied include both single component glasses and binary systems, consisting of a network modifier plus a network former, and the data have been extended to high magnitudes of the scattering vector, Q, to achieve high real-space resolution. Peak fitting techniques are employed to extract the detailed geometry of the basic structural units and to investigate the distortions caused by the introduction of network modifiers. The data are compared to various structural models and conclusions are drawn not only with regard to the validity of the structural models themselves but also concerning the environment of the network modifying cations.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.