This book reviews advances in understanding of the past ca. two million years of Earth history - the Quaternary Period - in the United States. It begins with sections on ice and water - as glaciers, permafrost, oceans, rivers, lakes, and aquifers. Six chapters are devoted to the high-latitude Pleistocene ice sheets, to mountain glaciations of the western United States, and to permafrost studies. Other chapters discuss ice-age lakes, caves, sea-level fluctuations, and riverine landscapes.
With a chapter on landscape evolution models, the book turns to essays on geologic processes. Two chapters discuss soils and their responses to climate, and wind-blown sediments. Two more describe volcanoes and earthquakes, and the use of Quaternary geology to understand the hazards they pose.
The next part of the book is on plants and animals. Five chapters consider the Quaternary history of vegetation in the United States. Other chapters treat forcing functions and vegetation response at different spatial and temporal scales, the role of fire as a catalyst of vegetation change during rapid climate shifts, and the use of tree rings in inferring age and past hydroclimatic conditions. Three chapters address vertebrate paleontology and the extinctions of large mammals at the end of the last glaciation, beetle assemblages and the inferences they permit about past conditions, and the peopling of North America. A final chapter addresses the numerical modeling of Quaternary climates, and the role paleoclimatic studies and climatic modeling has in predicting future response of the Earth's climate system to the changes we have wrought.
Preface (A.R. Gillespie, S.C. Porter, B.F. Atwater). 1. The southern Laurentide Ice Sheet in the United States: What have we learned in the last 40 years? (D.M. Mickelson, P.M. Colgan). 2. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet (D.B. Booth, K. Goetz Troost et al.). 3. Controls, history, outbursts, and impact of large late-quaternary proglacial lakes in North America (J.T. Teller). 4. Pleistocene glaciations of the Rocky Mountains (K.L. Pierce).
- Quaternary alpine glaciation in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Sierra Nevada, and Hawaii (D.S. Kaufman, S.C. Porter, A.R. Gillespie). 6. Coupling ice sheet and climate models for simulation of former ice sheets (S.J. Marshall, D. Pollard et al.). 7. Advances in permafrost process research in the United States since 1960 (B. Hallet, J. Putkonen et al.). 8. Quaternary sea-level history of the United States (D.R. Muhs, J.F. Wehmiller et al.). 9. Western Lakes, (L. Benson). 10. Isotopic records from ground-water and cave speleothem calcite in North America (J. Quade). 11. Rivers and riverine landscapes (D.R. Montgomery, E.E. Wohl). 12. Landscape evolution models (F.J. Pazzaglia). 13. Eolian sediments (A.J. Busacca, J.E. Begét et al.). 14. Soils and the quaternary climate system (M.J. Pavich, O.A. Chadwick). 15. Earthquake recurrence inferred from paleoseismology (B.F. Atwater, M.P. Tuttle et al.). 16. Quaternary volcanism in the United States (W.E. Scott). 17. Late quaternary vegetation history of the eastern United States (E.C. Grimm, G.L. Jacobson Jr.). 18. Quaternary vegetation and climate change in the western United States: Developments, perspectives, and prospects (R.S. Thompson, S.L. Shafer et al.). 19. Results and paleoclimate implications of 35 years of paleoecological research in Alaska (P.M. Anderson, M.E. Edwards, L.B. Brubaker). 20. Quaternary history from the US tropics (S. Hotchkiss). 21. Climatically forced vegetation dynamics in eastern Nort
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"...this wonderfully stimulating book is different: it should be on the bookshelf of everybody as a work of reference, insight and inspiration." --Quaternary Science Reviews 25
"...This will be a useful addition to geological reference collections. ...Recommended. General readers; upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers." --Choice
"...is sure to be a standard reference work. Most chapters will be excellent sources for lecture material in classes on the Quaternary." --Geoarchaeology
"...it should be on the bookshelf of everybody as a work of reference, insight and inspiration." --Quaternary Science Reviews, 2005