Caves as sources of biotic remains in arid western North America

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Caves have been a valuable source of paleoenvironmental information since the eighteenth century. In arid portions of western North America, caves have replaced small lakes as the primary source of biotic remains of Quaternary age. Packrat middens, dung of extinct animals, pollen, and archeological artifacts are excellently preserved. Aridity of the sediment, which is influenced by the cave's topographic position, internal morphology, and the regional climate, is the primary cause of good preservation. For stratigraphic pollen analysis, the best sites are those without internal moisture sources and without extensive bioturbation. Pollen samples should be taken near the center of the chamber, where eolian deposition is most rapid. Pollen concentrations in cave sediment are lower (2000-355,000 grains g-1) than in lake sediment, and pollen percentages in cave sediment differ from those in packrat middens due to additional transport mechanisms (on plant tissue and on the packrats themselves) for middens. Pollen diagrams for Bechan Cave, Utah, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona are presented as examples of cave sediment and packrat midden analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-348
Number of pages18
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume76
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

Fingerprint

caves
cave
midden
pollen
sediments
sediment
Stenocereus thurberi
lakes
cactus
bioturbation
eighteenth century
dry environmental conditions
monument
palynology
aridity
information sources
North America
regional climate
lacustrine deposit
artifact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Caves as sources of biotic remains in arid western North America. / Davis, Owen.

In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Vol. 76, No. 3-4, 1990, p. 331-348.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{cd439088f567483f825188973822a5e4,
title = "Caves as sources of biotic remains in arid western North America",
abstract = "Caves have been a valuable source of paleoenvironmental information since the eighteenth century. In arid portions of western North America, caves have replaced small lakes as the primary source of biotic remains of Quaternary age. Packrat middens, dung of extinct animals, pollen, and archeological artifacts are excellently preserved. Aridity of the sediment, which is influenced by the cave's topographic position, internal morphology, and the regional climate, is the primary cause of good preservation. For stratigraphic pollen analysis, the best sites are those without internal moisture sources and without extensive bioturbation. Pollen samples should be taken near the center of the chamber, where eolian deposition is most rapid. Pollen concentrations in cave sediment are lower (2000-355,000 grains g-1) than in lake sediment, and pollen percentages in cave sediment differ from those in packrat middens due to additional transport mechanisms (on plant tissue and on the packrats themselves) for middens. Pollen diagrams for Bechan Cave, Utah, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona are presented as examples of cave sediment and packrat midden analysis.",
author = "Owen Davis",
year = "1990",
doi = "10.1016/0031-0182(90)90119-R",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "76",
pages = "331--348",
journal = "Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology",
issn = "0031-0182",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "3-4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Caves as sources of biotic remains in arid western North America

AU - Davis, Owen

PY - 1990

Y1 - 1990

N2 - Caves have been a valuable source of paleoenvironmental information since the eighteenth century. In arid portions of western North America, caves have replaced small lakes as the primary source of biotic remains of Quaternary age. Packrat middens, dung of extinct animals, pollen, and archeological artifacts are excellently preserved. Aridity of the sediment, which is influenced by the cave's topographic position, internal morphology, and the regional climate, is the primary cause of good preservation. For stratigraphic pollen analysis, the best sites are those without internal moisture sources and without extensive bioturbation. Pollen samples should be taken near the center of the chamber, where eolian deposition is most rapid. Pollen concentrations in cave sediment are lower (2000-355,000 grains g-1) than in lake sediment, and pollen percentages in cave sediment differ from those in packrat middens due to additional transport mechanisms (on plant tissue and on the packrats themselves) for middens. Pollen diagrams for Bechan Cave, Utah, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona are presented as examples of cave sediment and packrat midden analysis.

AB - Caves have been a valuable source of paleoenvironmental information since the eighteenth century. In arid portions of western North America, caves have replaced small lakes as the primary source of biotic remains of Quaternary age. Packrat middens, dung of extinct animals, pollen, and archeological artifacts are excellently preserved. Aridity of the sediment, which is influenced by the cave's topographic position, internal morphology, and the regional climate, is the primary cause of good preservation. For stratigraphic pollen analysis, the best sites are those without internal moisture sources and without extensive bioturbation. Pollen samples should be taken near the center of the chamber, where eolian deposition is most rapid. Pollen concentrations in cave sediment are lower (2000-355,000 grains g-1) than in lake sediment, and pollen percentages in cave sediment differ from those in packrat middens due to additional transport mechanisms (on plant tissue and on the packrats themselves) for middens. Pollen diagrams for Bechan Cave, Utah, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona are presented as examples of cave sediment and packrat midden analysis.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0025175573&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0025175573&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/0031-0182(90)90119-R

DO - 10.1016/0031-0182(90)90119-R

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0025175573

VL - 76

SP - 331

EP - 348

JO - Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

JF - Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

SN - 0031-0182

IS - 3-4

ER -