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A 36,200 cal yr B.P. vegetation history was developed from macrofossils and pollen from 55 packrat middens from 1287 to 1442 m elevation in the Peloncillo Mountains of southeasternmost Arizona, USA. Today, these elevations are dominated by semidesert grassland with a mixture of Chihuahuan and Sonoran Desert shrubs, including an eastern disjunct population of jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis). From 36,200 to 15,410 cal yr B.P., rocky areas just above large, pluvial lakes that occupied what are now dry playas supported Pinus edulis, Juniperus osteosperma, Juniperus cf. coahuilensis, Quercus cf. turbinella and a rich understory of summer-flowering C4 annuals and grasses, indicating abundant summer rains and mild winters....
Aim: A conspicuous climatic and biogeographical transition occurs at 40?45� N in western North America. This pivot point marks a north?south opposition of wet and dry conditions at interannual and decadal time-scales, as well as the northern and southern limits of many dominant western plant species. Palaeoecologists have yet to focus on past climatic and biotic shifts along this transition, in part because it requires comparisons across dissimilar records [i.e. pollen from lacustrine sediments to the north and plant macrofossils from woodrat (Neotoma) middens to the south]. To overcome these limitations, we are extending the woodrat-midden record northward into the lowlands of the central Rocky Mountains. Published...
Valley-fill alluvium deposited from ca. A.D. 1400 to 1880 is widespread in tributaries of the Paria River and is largely coincident with the Little Ice Age epoch of global climate variability. Previous work showed that alluvium of this age is a mappable stratigraphic unit in many of the larger alluvial valleys of the southern Colorado Plateau. The alluvium is bounded by two disconformities resulting from prehistoric and historic arroyo cutting at ca. A.D. 1200–1400 and 1860–1910, respectively. The fill forms a terrace in the axial valleys of major through-flowing streams. This terrace and underlying deposits are continuous and interfinger with sediment in numerous small tributary valleys that head at the base of...