A Holocene climatic record for the Sonoran Desert from pollen analysis of Montezuma Well, Arizona, USA

Owen K. Davis, David S. Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


Pollen and macrofossil analyses of a radiocarbon-dated core, 1125 cm long, from Montezuma Well, elev. 1125 m, Yavapai County, Arizona, provide a record of summer precipitation similar to that of other monsoonal regions of the world. Precipitation was least from 4000 to 5000 yr B.P., and generally was greater than today before 8400 yr B.P. During the early-Holocene moist period, oak and grass pollen are abundant, and the best modern analogs are within the Arizona Monsoon boundary, so increased summer precipitation is indicated. Climatic parameters are estimated with the technique of best modern analogs for fossil samples. Temperature was highest ca. 3400 and 5700 yr B.P., and generally was cooler than today before 6800 yr B.P. Brief cold intervals in the Holocene match periods of global cooling and of positive 14C and 10Be anomalies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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