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ABSTRACT

The Midcontinent Permian succession in Kansas shows a long-term trend from a monsoonal to semi-arid climate (early Permian) to an increasingly arid and evaporitic climate (late Permian), superimposed by higher-frequency variations that resulted in the alternating deposition of marine carbonates, shales, and paleosols. Within the high-frequency cycles, at least three different orders of subcycles can be recognized: (1) the cyclothems, interpreted as representing glacio-eustatic sea-level fluctuations driven by Milankovitch orbital modulations; (2) the carbonate-to-clastic facies patterns, interpreted as climate change from arid to monsoonal; and (3) the calcic to vertic paleosol profiles, possibly a reflection of increasing precipitation within a monsoonal regime, controlled by weak versus strong monsoons. This field trip focuses on the Lower Permian (Wolfcampian) succession exposed in the Manhattan area, Riley County, Kansas. Nearly continuous exposures display numerous cycles of sea-level change (“cyclothems”). Stacked paleosol horizons that are part of the Wolfcampian cyclothems also record climate changes, from arid/semi-arid to sub-humid/seasonal climates.

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