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Climate and vegetation change during the late-glacial/early Holocene transition inferred from multiple proxy records from Blacktail Pond, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Author(s): Teresa R. Krause, Cathy L. Whitlock
Year Published: 2013
Description:

A series of environmental changes from late-glacial ice recession through the early Holocene are revealed in a 7000-yr-long record of pollen, charcoal, geochemistry, and stable isotopes from Blacktail Pond, a closed-basin lake in Yellowstone National Park. Prior to 11,500 cal yr BP, cool conditions dominated, fire activity was low, and alpine tundra and Picea parkland grew on the landscape. A step-like climate change to warm summer conditions occurred at 11,500 cal yr BP. In response, fire activity increased facilitating a transition from Picea parkland to closed Pinus forest. From 11,500 to 8280 cal yr BP, warm summers and abundant moisture mostly likely from high winter snowfall supported closed Pinus contorta forests. Cooler drier summer conditions prevailed beginning 8280 cal yr BP due to decreased summer insolation and winter snowpack, and lower parkland developed. The timing of vegetation change in the Blacktail Pond record is similar to other low- and middle-elevation sites in the northern Rocky Mountains during the late-glacial period, suggesting local plant communities responded to regional-scale climate change; however, the timing of vegetation changes was spatially variable during the early and middle Holocene due to the varying influences of strengthened summer monsoons and subtropical high on regional precipitation.

Citation: Krause, T.R.; Whitlock, C. 2013. Climate and vegetation change during the late-glacial/early Holocene transition inferred from multiple proxy records from Blacktail Pond, Yellowstone National Park, USA. Quaternary Research. 79(3): 391–402
Topic(s): Fire History
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 13523
Record updated: Mar 22, 2018