Topographic thresholds and soil preservation along the southern high plains eastern escarpment, Northwest Texas, USA

Travis Conley, Stance Hurst, Eileen Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The eastern escarpment of the Southern High Plains (USA) is today a semi-arid erosional landscape delineated by canyon breaks and topographic relief. A series of buried soils were identified, described, and sampled at 19 soil profile localities exposed along terraces of the South Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River (South Fork) and two associated tributaries (Spring Creek and Macy 285 drainage). Radiocarbon dating revealed late-Pleistocene to early Holocene (~12,580–910014C B.P.), middle-Holocene (~6025–460014C B.P.), and late-Holocene (~2000–80014C B.P.) buried soils. The late-Pleistocene to middle-Holocene soils were preserved only at higher elevations within the upper section of the South Fork and Spring Creek. A topographic position analysis was conducted using GIS to identify and examine the impacts of a soil topographic threshold on the preservation and distribution of buried soils within this geomorphic system. Above the identified ~810 m threshold, lateral migration of channels was constrained. Extensive channel migration below the threshold removed older terraces that were replaced with late-Holocene terraces and associated buried soils. Landscape topography constraints on geomorphic processes and soil formation impacted the preservation of archaeological sites in this semi-arid region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number476
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • GIS
  • Grasslands
  • Soils
  • Southern High Plains
  • Texas
  • Topographic threshold

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