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Late-Glacial Environmental Changes South of the Wisconsinan Terminal Moraine in the Eastern United States

  • Emily W.B. Russell (a1) and Scott D. Stanford (a2)

Palynological analyses of two sediment cores, one 2.4 m long from northern Delaware, dated about 16,300 to 14,700 14C yr B.P., and one 1.8 m long from New Jersey just south of the Wisconsinan terminal moraine and dated about 13,600 to 12,500 14C yr B.P., give the first detailed evidence of vegetation in this area during these periods. The overall assemblages are similar to each other, with Picea and Pinus dominating the arboreal pollen and Poaceae and Cyperaceae the herbaceous flora. Nonarboreal pollen contributes about 30–50% of the total, indicating a very open vegetation or a mix of forest patches and open areas. Especially in Delaware, there is a diversity of other herbaceous pollen, including members of the Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Ranunculaceae. The assemblages do not resemble current North American tundra or boreal forest assemblages; rather, they resemble assemblages characteristic of tundra on recently exposed land surfaces north of the Wisconsinan terminal moraine. The persistence of the assemblages for 1500–2000 years in late-glacial time suggests stable and cold climate during this time of glacier retreat.

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Quaternary Research
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