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Date:11/14/2012

very short period of time (hours to days). Their paper includes new geochronological data confirming that densely welded volcanic ash within the volcano is the same age as a widespread outflow sheet of the ash that extends across over 14,000 square kilometers of the Mojave Desert. In addition, they identify a fragment of the volcano that was tectonically dismembered and translated more than 30 kilometers to the southwest between approximately 19 and 15 million years ago. The direction of extension is compatible with previous estimates derived from detailed structural analysis of the region.


A reduced relevance of vegetation change for alluvial aggradation in arid zones

Jose Luis Antinao, Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512, USA; and Eric McDonald. Posted online 19 October 2012; doi: 10.1130/G33623.1.

This study by Jose Luis Antinao and Eric McDonald assesses the hypothesis that a climatically induced decrease in vegetation density on arid region hillslopes is a major factor behind erosion, sediment transport, and aggradation (sedimentation) downstream. This linkage is often used to explain sedimentation in alluvial fans during the Late Pleistocene Holocene period (8 to 14-thousand years ago) in the U.S. Southwest deserts. Antinao and McDonald compiled paleo-botanical and alluvial fan sedimentation histories during this period in the Mojave and northern Sonoran deserts. Timing of actual downstream aggradation was compared to timing of vegetation change in altitudinal zones susceptible to generate sediment, assuming that compositional changes in vegetation indicate changes in plant density or canopy cover. Their results reveal that onset of extensive alluvial fan deposition developed well before a decrease in catchment vegetative cover in all regions. Fan sedimentation could be linked, unexpectedly, to increased cover in one region. These ambiguous linkages
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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