Climatic Implication of the Late Quaternary Alluvial Record of a

Small Drainage Basin in the Central Great Plains


Alan F. Arbogast and William C. Johnson


††††††††††† Four late-Quaternary alluvial fills and terraces are recognized in Wolf Creek basin, a small (163 km2) drainage in the Kansas River system of the central Great Plains.Two terraces were created during the late Pleistocene: the T-4 is a fill-top terrace underlain by sand and gravel fill (Fill I), and the T-3 is a strath terrace cut on the Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone.Both Fill II (early Holocene) and Fill III (late Holocene) are exposed beneath the T-2, a Holocene fill-top terrace.The T-1 complex, consisting of one cut and three till-top terraces, is underlain by Fills III and IV.A poorly developed floodplain (T-0) has formed within the past 1000 yr.As valleys in Wolf Creek basin filled during the early Holocene, an interval of soil formation occurred about 6800 yr B.P.Early-Holocene fill has been found only in the basinís upper reaches, indicating that extensive erosion during the middle Holocene removed most early-Holocene fill from the middle and lower reaches of the basin.Valley filling between 5000 and 1000 yr B.P. was interrupted by soil formation about 1800, 1500, and 1200 yr much as 6 m of entrenchment has occurred in the past 1000 yr.Holocene events in Wolf Creek basin correlate well with those in other localities in the central Great Plains, indicating that widespread changes in climate, along with adjustments driven by complex response, influenced fluvial activity.