Midwestern Holocene Paleoenvironments Revealed by Floodplain Deposits in Northeastern Iowa

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Science  20 Jul 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4966, pp. 272-274
DOI: 10.1126/science.249.4966.272


Pollen analysis of pond deposits in the upper reaches of a stream from northeastern Iowa, an area beyond the last glacial margin, provides a nearly complete record of vegetational changes during the last 12.5 thousand years. Sixty-one radiocarbon dates provide good chronological control. Spruce forest was replaced by deciduous forest before 9.1 thousand years ago, followed by prairie from 5.4 to 3.5 thousand years ago, and oak savanna from 3.5 thousand years ago until presettlement times. The prairie invasion was nearly 3 thousand years later here than at other sites in Iowa and Minnesota, documenting a late Holocene, rather than an early-middle Holocene, period of maximum warmth and dryness for the southern part of the upper Midwest.

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