Abstract

The soil-geomorphic evolution of a hillslope in hummocky moraine terrain in one of the most arid parts of the Palliser Triangle is reconstructed from ca. 12 600 BP to the present. A transect from a moraine plateau into an internally drained basin provided evidence for seven postglacial landscape cycles. Each cycle includes a phase of land-surface instability, marked by erosional and depositional imprints, and a phase of stability, marked by pedologic imprints. Five cycles of slope-wash-dominated erosion left behind four superposed downslope-thickening and downslope-fining sediment mantles and were followed by two eolian cycles, each of which left behind a loess mantle that accumulated from a local loess-dispersal system. Accumulation of long-range calcareous dust coincided with each of these loess cycles. The five complete buried soil catenas and the surficial catena have systematic textural differentiation, reflecting the preceding geomorphic regimen, and color differentiation, reflecting the soil-drainage continua. Changes in hillslope hydrology occurred repeatedly throughout the postglacial. The evidence indicates that each element from the 14 successive local soil landscapes reacted to environmental change as a component from a functionally integrated process–response system.

You do not currently have access to this article.