Skip to Main Content

Paleosol archives of environmental and climatic history in paleotropical western Pangea during the latest Pennsylvanian through Early Permian

Neil J. Tabor, Isabel P. Montanez, Christopher R. Scotese, Christopher J. Poulsen and Greg H. Mack
Paleosol archives of environmental and climatic history in paleotropical western Pangea during the latest Pennsylvanian through Early Permian (in Resolving the late Paleozoic ice age in time and space, Christopher R. Fielding (editor), Tracy D. Frank (editor) and John L. Isbell (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2008) 441: 291-303


The stratigraphic and regional distributions of paleosol morphology in latest Pennsylvanian through Early Permian strata in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma are presented in this paper. This regional extent corresponds to a paleolatitudinal gradient spanning approximately 5 degrees S to 10 degrees N. Morphological trends from this region delineate significant and systematic temporal and spatial changes in Permian-Carboniferous paleoenvironment and paleoclimate. The inferred latest Pennsylvanian (Virgilian) through early Early Permian environmental pattern is complex, but it indicates persistently dry, semiarid to arid conditions in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, at paleolatitudes north of approximately 2 degrees N, whereas lower paleolatitude ( approximately 2 degrees S to 2 degrees N) tropical regions in New Mexico exhibit a stepwise shift from subhumid to semiarid and variably seasonal conditions throughout late Pennsylvanian and the first half of Early Permian (Virgilian through Wolfcampian) time, followed by a subsequent shift to more arid conditions during the latter part of the Early Permian (Leonardian). Notably, strata from the southernmost paleosites, in Texas and Oklahoma, exhibit the most significant and abrupt climate changes through this period; they show a rapid transition from nearly ever-wet latest Pennsylvanian climate (at approximately 5 degrees S) to drier and seasonal climate across the Permian-Carboniferous system boundary, and finally to arid and seasonal climate by Leonardian time (at approximately 2-4 degrees N). The inferred climate patterns show no robust long-term correlation with the high-latitude Gondwanan records of glaciation. Rather, the long-term record of Permian-Pennsylvanian climate indicators from the southwestern United States is most simply explained by an approximately 8 degrees northward tectonic drift through (essentially) static climate zones over western tropical Pangea during the interval of study. However, the relatively rapid perturbations to climate recorded by these pedogenic archives appear to be too rapid for tectonic forces and might correspond to changes in climate drivers, such as atmospheric pCO (sub 2) , atmospheric circulation, and glacial-interglacial cycles.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 441
Title: Paleosol archives of environmental and climatic history in paleotropical western Pangea during the latest Pennsylvanian through Early Permian
Title: Resolving the late Paleozoic ice age in time and space
Author(s): Tabor, Neil J.Montanez, Isabel P.Scotese, Christopher R.Poulsen, Christopher J.Mack, Greg H.
Author(s): Fielding, Christopher R.editor
Author(s): Frank, Tracy D.editor
Author(s): Isbell, John L.editor
Affiliation: Southern Methodist University, Department of Geological Sciences, Dallas, TX, United States
Affiliation: University of Nebraska Lincoln, Department of Geosciences, Lincoln, NE, United States
Pages: 291-303
Published: 2008
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2441-6
Meeting name: Late Paleozoic ice age; toward a more refined understanding of timing, duration, and character
Meeting location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20050821Oct. 21, 2005
References: 62
Accession Number: 2008-123138
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: NSF grants EAR-0447381, EAR-0617250 and EAR-0545654
Illustration Description: illus.
N37°00'00" - N42°00'00", W114°04'60" - W109°04'60"
N37°00'00" - N41°00'00", W109°00'00" - W102°00'00"
N31°30'00" - N37°00'00", W109°04'60" - W103°00'00"
N33°34'60" - N37°00'00", W103°00'00" - W94°25'00"
N25°45'00" - N36°30'00", W106°30'00" - W93°30'00"
N31°15'00" - N37°00'00", W115°00'00" - W109°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA, United StatesUniversity of California at Davis, USA, United StatesUniversity of Texas, USA, United StatesUniversity of Michigan, USA, United StatesNew Mexico State University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200847
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal