The well known Clovis and Plainview archaeological sites of New Mexico and Texas have yielded new data on regional late Quaternary geologic, paleoclimatic, and pedologic histories. Eolian sedimentation at the Clovis site from about 10,000 to less than 8500 yr B.P. was followed by the formation of a cumulic soil between 8500 and 5000 yr B.P. Episodic eolian and slope wash deposition then culminated in massive eolian sedimentation about 5000 yr B.P. after which a Haplustalf formed then was subsequently buried by part of a dune system within the last 1000 yr. At the Plainview site, a basal stream gravel contains Plainview cultural material (ca. 10,000 yr B.P.), which is followed by a localized early Holocene lacustrine deposit, two eolian deposits (the younger dating to about 5000 yr B.P.), and a marsh deposit which slowly accreted as an Argiustoll formed in the younger eolian unit. The data indicate that on the Southern High Plains (1) between 12,000 and 8500 yr B.P. sedimentation varied from site to site, (2) there was a regional climate change toward warming and drying in the early Holocene, (3) two episodes of severe drought apparently occurred in the middle Holocene (6500 to 4500 yr B.P.), (4) between 4500 yr B.P. and the present an essentially modern climate existed, but with several shifts toward aridity within the last 1000 yr, (5) argillic horizons have developed in late Holocene soils, (6) clay illuviation can occur in calcareous soils, and (7) long-distance correlation of Holocene stratigraphy in the region is possible, particularly with the aid of soil morphology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)