In the central Great Plains of the United States, radiocarbon dating of loess and buried soils is clarifying the late Quaternary loess chronology for the period 25,000 to 10,000 BP. Along Harland Lake, Nebraska, a soil developed in the Gilman Canyon Formation and overlain by Peoria Loess has radiocarbon ages on soil humates of 30,700 to 21,500 BP. At one site, two Picea charcoal bands in the lower meter of Peoria Loess have radiocarbon ages of 21,250 and 19,730 BP. Therefore, in the vicinity of Harlan Lake, deposition of Peoria Loess apparently began around 21,000 BP. Peoria Loess deposition appears to have been interrupted by an episode of river entrenchment prior to 12,600 BP. Spring activity shortly thereafter suggests that incision was coeval to an increase in effective moisture. The termination of Peoria Loess deposition is marked by the Brady Soil, which in the Harlan Lake area has radiocarbon ages on soil humates of 11,800 to 10,200 BP. Comparison of the Harlan Lake chronology with chronologies completed elsewhere in the central Great Plains reveals general synchrony among periods of pedogenesis and Peoria Loess deposition. Little is known, however, about vegetation conditions in the region when loess was accumulating. Charcoal has been noted chiefly in the basal Peoria Loess, suggesting that some trees were present during initial Peoria Loess deposition. The extent of this tree cover is unknown, however. Charcoal is rare in the middle and upper Peoria Loess. © 1993.
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