Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Highlights—Polygenetic Paleosols and Paleoclimate

Paleosols represent atmosphere-influenced sediment alteration during periods of landscape stability. To better understand paleosols and paleoclimate of the late Paleozoic ice age, two papers (Rosenau et al. and  Rosenau et al.) characterize the macro-morphology, micro-morphology, mineralogy, isotopes, and stratigraphic and lateral distribution of paleosols in Pennsylvanian (Atokan-Virgilian) mixed marine and terrestrial coal-bearing strata (“cyclothems”) in the Illinois basin. The data illustrate intra- and inter-cyclothem variability in paleosol morphology, mineralogy, and isotopes interpreted to reflect marked paleohydrologic variability driven by a combination of autogenic basin-scale controls (such as groundwater fluctuations) and allogenic regional- to global-scale controls (such as glacioeustasy and climate). These results refine understanding of the complex, polygenetic origin of these paleosols and the paleoclimate changes during deposition.

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