The Quaternary Period in the United Statesby A.R. Gillespie, Stephen C. Porter, Stephen C. Porter
Pub. Date: 12/31/2003
Publisher: Elsevier Science
This book reviews advances in understanding of the past ca. two million years of Earth history - the Quaternary Period - in the United States. It begins with sections on ice and water - as glaciers, permafrost, oceans, rivers, lakes, and aquifers. Six chapters are devoted to the high-latitude Pleistocene ice sheets, to mountain glaciations of the western United
This book reviews advances in understanding of the past ca. two million years of Earth history - the Quaternary Period - in the United States. It begins with sections on ice and water - as glaciers, permafrost, oceans, rivers, lakes, and aquifers. Six chapters are devoted to the high-latitude Pleistocene ice sheets, to mountain glaciations of the western United States, and to permafrost studies. Other chapters discuss ice-age lakes, caves, sea-level fluctuations, and riverine landscapes.
With a chapter on landscape evolution models, the book turns to essays on geologic processes. Two chapters discuss soils and their responses to climate, and wind-blown sediments. Two more describe volcanoes and earthquakes, and the use of Quaternary geology to understand the hazards they pose.
The next part of the book is on plants and animals. Five chapters consider the Quaternary history of vegetation in the United States. Other chapters treat forcing functions and vegetation response at different spatial and temporal scales, the role of fire as a catalyst of vegetation change during rapid climate shifts, and the use of tree rings in inferring age and past hydroclimatic conditions. Three chapters address vertebrate paleontology and the extinctions of large mammals at the end of the last glaciation, beetle assemblages and the inferences they permit about past conditions, and the peopling of North America.
A final chapter addresses the numerical modeling of Quaternary climates, and the role paleoclimatic studies and climatic modeling has in predicting future response of the Earth's climate system to the changes we have wrought.
Table of Contents
1. The southern Laurentide Ice Sheet in the United States: What have we learned in the last 40 years? 2. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet 3. Controls, history, outbursts, and impact of large late-quaternary proglacial lakes in North America 4. Pleistocene glaciations of the Rocky Mountains 5. Quaternary alpine glaciation in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Sierra Nevada, and Hawaii 6. Coupling ice sheet and climate models for simulation of former ice sheets 7. Advances in permafrost process research in the United States since 1960 8. Quaternary sea-level history of the United States 9. Western Lakes 10. Isotopic records from ground-water and cave speleothem calcite in North America 11. Rivers and riverine landscapes 12. Landscape evolution models 13. Eolian sediments 14. Soils and the quaternary climate system 15. Earthquake recurrence inferred from paleoseismology 16. Quaternary volcanism in the United States 17. Late quaternary vegetation history of the eastern United States 18. Quaternary vegetation and climate change in the western United States: Developments, perspectives, and prospects 19. Results and paleoclimate implications of 35 years of paleoecological research in Alaska 20. Quaternary history from the US tropics 21. Climatically forced vegetation dynamics in eastern North America during the late quaternary 22. Holocene fire activity as a record of past environmental change 23. Interannual to decadal climate and streamflow variability estimated tree rings 24. Quaternary coleoptera of the United States and Canada 25. Vertebrate paleontology 26. Peopling of North America 27. Modeling paleoclimates
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