Palynological records of Neogene climate and vegetation from interior western North American sites: an historical overview.

Davis, O.K.*

* Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
Last Updated July, 2004.
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The analysis of long sedimentary records of Quaternary and older sediments began in North America in 1956, with the publication of Kathryn Clisby's and Paul Sears' (1956) analysis of a series of cores taken in the San Agustin playa of western New Mexico, U.S.A.
Paul B. Sears Katherine Clisby
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Markgraf SAP map
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Clisby's palynological analyses were done soon after the marine isotopic studies of Cesare Emiliani (1955) were published.
260 m (600 m)
200 samples (1300)
15 types (?)

Clisby believed the San Agustine Record reached the Bruhnes/ Matuyama boundary at 804 ft (unpublished). She compared the record to Emiliani's (1961) curves for the Calabrian type section, in her 1962 presentation at the First IPC (Clisby, 1962).
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Eardley's (1960) "Salt Air" (Great Salt Lake) core was correlated with Milankovitch Cyclicity and Emeliani's Marine 18O record
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Clisby's work was followed by Jane Gray's and Paul Martin's analysis of Safford Basin, Arizona (Martin & Gray, 1962), Lake Cochise, Arizona (Martin, 1963) and the Great Salt Lake, Utah (Martin & Mehringer, 1965; Davis, 2002).
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These early studies, taken from dry lake beds, were plagued by sedimentation gaps and poor dating, but they demonstrated the potential for very long, detailed records in western North American tectonic basins.
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It was not until Thomas Van der Hammen's (1974) and Genevieve Woillard's (1979, Woillard and Mook, 1982) detailed analyses demonstrated a correlation between terrestrial and marine records that North American palynologists once again focused on long records.
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David Adam initiated coring projects in standing water rather than on dry lake beds: Walker Lake, Arizona (Berry et al., 1983) Clear Lake, California (Adam and West,1983) and Tulare Lake California (Adam et al., 1989).
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These investigations demonstrated the potential for millions of years of uninterrupted palynological record.
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Amoco Barge GSL More recent investigations have demonstrated ever more detailed and ancient records of vegetation and climatic change (Bader, 2000; Dean et al., 2002; Woolfenden, 2003).

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Woolfenden, 2003
(Davis & Moutoux, 1998)
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