Late Quaternary climates and environments of the Edwards Plateau, Texas


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June 1993


Fossil vertebrate, pollen, and plant macrofossil data from the Edwards Plateau, Texas and throughout the southcentral United States permit reconstruction of regional changes in temperature and effective moisture. Full-glacial temperatures were significantly cooler than those of today, at least 6°C during the summer months, but by ca. 13,000 yrs B.P. summer temperatures were within 2–3°C of present values. There was more effective moisture during the full-glacial period than at any time since then. During the late-glacial, ca. 14,000–10,500 effective moisture first decreased then increased, while the early to middle Holocene was dominated by a protracted decrease in effective moisture. This long-term trend culminated in conditions that were drier than modern during the early part of the late Holocene from ca. 5000 to 2500 yr B.P. Conditions were more mesic than present from ca. 2500 and 1000 yr B.P., while the modern drought-prone climate has characterized the last 1000 years.

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Global and Planetary Change, Vol. 7, no. 4 (1993-06).