Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
SOIL CORES OF FOUR ORGANIC-RICH WETLAND DEPOSITS FROM WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA PROVIDE A RECORD OF HOLOCENE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE FOR THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS
There is currently considerable debate as to the presence and magnitude of Holocene climate events, such as the hypsithermal, in the southeastern U.S. due to a lack of suitable sites that preserve a record of environmental change. Four previously unstudied southern Appalachian wetlands have been located in western North Carolina that contain thick organic deposits that potentially provide a record of changing Holocene environmental conditions. Two of the sites were cored and radiocarbon dated and show deposition that spans the entire Holocene (Speedwell site) or the middle to late Holocene (Alarka site). A separate site (Sam Knob) has been cored and contains >150 cm of organic-rich sediments. The fourth site, near Mills River, has been probed and preliminary investigation of this deposit suggests that it contains > 200 cm of organic-rich sediments. Bulk density, carbon, nitrogen, and carbon isotope measurements have been completed for the Speedwell, Alarka, and Sam Knob cores. These data provide a record of changing environmental conditions in the region through the Holocene. Analysis at the Mills River site is ongoing. The trends seen in both the Alarka and Speedwell cores indicate a climate response in the southern Appalachians concurrent with the mid-Holocene hypsithermal event recorded elsewhere in North America. The Sam Knob and Mills River sites will contribute additional data to the growing western North Carolina paleoenvironmental record once analysis is complete.