Abstract

Investigation of a sequence of alternating sand and silt deposits formed in an ephemeral braided stream channel adjacent to the modem Caribou River, Yukon, revealed differences in the palynological spectra of the sediment types. Picea, Betula, Alnus, and Gramineae are more concentrated in the silt units, whereas Cyperaceae, Chenopodium, Lycopodium, and Ericaceae are preferentially concentrated in the sand strata. These distribution patterns reflect the hydrodynamic properties of the grains, in addition to environmental differences. Grains of Picea, Betula, and Alnus settle through still water at the same rates as silt-sized quartz particles and are therefore concentrated in the portion of the deposit derived from the stream's suspended load. Thus, increases in percentages of these palynomorphs with decreasing grain size may not reflect vegetation changes or climatic alterations but may be consequences of the hydrodynamic situation.

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