Five stratigraphic units and five soils of late Pleistocene to Holocene age crop out in dissected badlands on Corn Creek Flat, 30 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, and at Tule Springs, nearer to Las Vegas. The record is dominantly fluvial but contains evidence of several moister, marsh-forming periods: the oldest (Unit B) dates perhaps to the middle Wisconsin, and the more widespread Unit D falls between 30,000 and 15,000 yr B.P. Unit D therefore correlates with pluvial maximum lacustrine deposits elsewhere in the Great Basin. Standing water was not of sufficient depth or extent during either period to form lake strandlines. Between 14,000 and 7200 yr B.P. (Unit E), standing surface water gradually decreased, a trend also apparent in Great Basin pluvial lake chronologies during the same period. Groundwater carbonate cementation and burrowing by cicadas (Cicadae) accompany the moist-phase units. After 7200 yr B.P., increased wind action, decreased biotic activity, and at least 25 m of water-table lowering accompanied widespread erosion of older fine-grained deposits. Based on pack-rat midden and pollen evidence, this coincides with major vegetation changes in the valley, from sagebrush-dominated steppe to lower Mohave desertscrub.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)