An 18 ka to present pollen- and phytolith-based vegetation reconstruction from Hall's Cave, south-central Texas, USA


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September 2019


Pollen, spores, phytoliths, and microscopic charcoal from a sedimentary column in Hall's Cave, south-central Texas, provide information for local and regional vegetation change during the last deglaciation and the Holocene in the context of broader regional and global climatic changes. The combination of paleoenvironmental proxy data from the cave indicates that between about 18,000 and 16,500 cal yr BP the cave area was dominated by an open plant community consisting of herbaceous vegetation, dominated by C3 grasses, and scattered trees, primarily Quercus and Pinus species. After about 16,500 cal yr BP, the arboreal component fluctuated, attaining a peak between 14,000 and 13,000 cal yr BP with relatively equal proportions of C3 and C4 grasses, including a sizable proportion of Panicoideae grasses. The Younger Dryas is marked by a conspicuous decrease in arboreal pollen with an apparent increase of C4 grasses toward its termination. Early Holocene recovery of arboreal vegetation is followed by a drying trend marked by the increasing dominance of C4 drought-tolerant Chloridoideae grasses. Increasing human use of the cave in middle to late Holocene times creates noise in the climatic significance of pollen, phytolith, and other proxies, a factor to consider when interpreting paleoenvironmental proxies in other cave sedimentary records.


18 Ka, Pollen, Phytolith-Based Vegetation, Reconstruction, Hall's Cave, South-Central Texas, Usa

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