Late Pleistocene through Holocene landscape evolution of the White River Badlands, South Dakota
Published:January 01, 2008
Patrick A. Burkhart, Jack Livingston, J. Elmo Rawling, III, Paul R. Hanson, Shannon Mahan, Rachel Benton, Erin Heffron, Michael Jahn, Travis Anderson, Bryan Page, 2008. "Late Pleistocene through Holocene landscape evolution of the White River Badlands, South Dakota", Roaming the Rocky Mountains and Environs: Geological Field Trips, Robert G. Raynolds
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Badlands are common arid and semiarid landscapes long recognized in slope development and erosion rate studies by preeminent geomorphologists including Gilbert, Davis, and Schumm. The trip described here will examine in detail Quaternarystrata and landscape evolution in arguably the most famous badlands, the White River Badlands of South Dakota, which were pivotal during development of vertebrate paleontology in North America. Geologists have collected fossils from the White River Group there nearly every field season since the mid-1800s; however, until recently, little work was reported on the extensively exposed Quaternary strata. The White River Badlands are also a proposed dust source for the widespread PeoriaLoess of the Central Great Plains. The research highlighted on this trip includes (1) luminescence and radiocarbon ages from late Pleistocene through Holocene eolian sand, (2) radiocarbon ages from Holocene eolian cliff-top deposits, (3) luminescenceages from late Pleistocene fluvial silts, (4) radiocarbon ages of late Holocene fluvial silts, and (5) cosmogenic ages on ventifacts from the adjoining upper prairie. These new studies will facilitate discussions, including (1) late Quaternary paleoenvironments,(2) late Quaternary fluvial incision rates and episodes, (3) up-wind sediment supply of late Quaternary nonglaciogenic loess, (4) landscape evolution spanning late Pleistocene tableland through late Holocene sod table development, and (5) modern erosion-pedimentation rates.
Keywords: Badlands, fluvial, eolian, geochronology, geomorphology.
Figures & Tables
Roaming the Rocky Mountains and Environs: Geological Field Trips
Prepared following the 2007 GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, these 15 guides illustrate the latest geological and archeological thinking on a variety of current research themes. Regional-scale topics include landscape responses to dynamic processes of volcanism and uplift in Yellowstone and western Colorado, geomorphic evolution along the Front Range of Colorado and on the High Plains of South Dakota, and geoarchaeological research in central Colorado and western Nebraska. A series of papers illustrates tectonic and stratigraphic processes through time and space, with discussions of Precambrian structures in western Colorado, Jurassic deposition in south-central Colorado, and near-shore stratigraphic patterns in the Cretaceous strata of the Book Cliffs. One paper reviews potential seismic signatures in Cretaceous and Early Tertiary strata in northern Wyoming and Montana, and another discusses patterns of extension in southern Nevada and adjacent portions of California. Other topics in this well-rounded volume include the history of volcanism and gold mineralization at Cripple Creek, development of coalbed methane resources in the Powder River Basin, and a long-lived subsurface coal fire in western Colorado. Follow in the footsteps of these field trips, and see for yourself the patterns and evidence discussed.