Stratigraphic Evidence for Late-Holocene Aeolian Sand Mobilization

and Soil Formation in South-Central Kansas, U.S.A.

 

Alan F. Arbogast

 

            Stratigraphic evidence and radiocarbon dating of sediments from the Great Bend Sand Prairie in Kansas indicates that significant deposits of aeolian sand have accumulated in the region during the late Holocene.  Radiocarbon ages obtained from total humates in buried soils suggest that five periods of late-Holocene stability and soil formation are preserved in dune fields at approximately 2300, 1400, 1000, 700, 500 and 300 years B.P.  Reactivation of aeolian sand in the past 1000 years has resulted in a variety of well defined, parabolic dunes.  In general, events in the region correspond with established chronologies elsewhere on the Great Plains and in particular correlate well with dune fields in north-eastern Colorado.  Overall, results indicate that the threshold of landscape stability on the Great Bend Sand Prairie can easily be crossed in the current climatic regime.