Late quaternary landscape evolution, soil stratigraphy, and geoarchaeology of the Caprock Canyonlands, Northwest Texas, USA

Laura R. Murphy, Stance C. Hurst, Vance T. Holliday, Eileen Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In northwest Texas, USA, between the Southern High Plains to the west and the Central Lowlands to the east, lies a geographic boundary known as the "Escarpment Breaks" or "Caprock Canyonlands." The canyonlands contain abundant springs, lithic resources, shelter, and plant and animal food sources that attracted hunter-gatherer groups. A geoarchaeological study was conducted in the canyonlands to determine the effects of late-Quaternary landscape evolution, especially intensive erosion, on the region's archaeological record. Geomorphic and stratigraphic field research and a total of 95 new radiocarbon age determinations, 94 of which were determined on paired samples, aid in reconstructing an understudied dynamic and erosive landscape, and explain how the landscape has changed. The pattern is similar to reported data from the Central Plains and western Rolling Plains but dissimilar to the Southern High Plains. High rates of erosion and geological controls on the South Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, a 4th order stream, have hindered the discovery of deeply buried soils and in situ Paleoindian artifacts and features, but a late-Holocene pedocomplex is relatively intact in valley fills beneath remnants of the T-2 terrace of the South Fork. The eroding slopes near the edge of the caprock escarpment exposed a record of in situ Archaic to Protohistoric-aged materials. The eroding slopes should be targeted for future quantification of erosion and archaeological preservation bias for the canyonlands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary International
Volume342
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 25 2014

Keywords

  • Geoarchaeology
  • Landscape evolution
  • Late quaternary
  • Soil stratigraphy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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