GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 182-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


BAXSTROM, Kelli W., Ohio University, Geological Sciences, 139 University Terrace, Athens, OH 45701

Central Appalachian caves hold a detailed record of ecological response to regional climate change in the form of vegetational variability and fire regime variations. Extensive studies have shown stalagmitic d13C and d18O values record fluctuations in moisture and seasonality due to orbital-driven changes in regional and global climates. Oxygen and carbon isotopes derived from stalagmites grown over the course of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene in Culverson Creek, Buckeye Creek, and Rapps caves, West Virginia are here compared to a nearby lacustrine pollen record and microcharcoal abundances from a core of laminated slackwater sediments collected from point bars in Buckeye Creek and Culverson Creek caves. Lastly, this data is compared to the work of Watts and Cranberry (1979), and Kneller and Peteet (1999) which analyzed pollen, plant macrofossils, and charcoal in the late glacial periods in central Appalachian Virginia, attributing tree taxa changes to climate variability especially in regard to the Younger Dryas chronozone. Linking the three proxies to plant macrofossils illustrates how regional climates and fire regimes are affected long-term climate changes, especially with respect to moisture availability during the transition out of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This data is explored in the context of how biodiversity, fire ecology, megafauna habitation, and human land use practices might have affected one another in central Appalachia since the LGM.