Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:50 PM


COCINA Jr, Frank G.1, SPRINGER, Gregory S.1 and ROWE, Harry2, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio University, 316 Clippinger Laboratories, Athens, OH 45701, (2)Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Kentucky, 101 Slone Research Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506,

Stream systems are vital components of many ecosystems and directly link many earth and biologic systems. Understanding stream behavior is essential to understanding fluvial effects on ecosystems however, stream behavior changes with time in response to climate fluctuations in poorly constrained manners. The limited scope of modern stream hydrology data can be extended by examining stream paleohydrologies to find climate effects. Paleohydrologic studies have been successfully employed in arid climates, but rarely in humid climates such as that of the eastern United States. Stream-derived sediments preserved caves can potentially provide insight into paleoflood histories for a stream system in a humid temperate climate. Two cave systems adjacent to the Greenbrier River in southeastern West Virginia contain well-preserved laminated river-derived flood sediments. Radiocarbon dating places sediment ages as old as 4010yrs. These sediments can be used to create a paleoflood history for the river over the last four millennia. δ13C data from the sediment provides information about the floral composition (fluctuations in the density of deciduous tree populations) of the watershed during sediment deposition. Using this information, insight into climate controls on flora can be gained. This will allow a better understanding of earth systems dynamics, specifically atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere interconnections. This study will be of great benefit to concerned parties living in proximity to similar rivers and scientists seeking an understanding of links between streams, climate, and ecology.