Distribution of sites and radiocarbon dates in the Sierra Nevada: Implications for paleoecological prospecting

Scott R Anderson, Susan J. Smith, Peter A. Koehler

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The number of paleoecological records for the Sierra Nevada of California has increased substantially since the compilation of Adam (1985). We examine here the geographical and temporal distribution of records within the range in order to identify areas for which "gaps" exist in our paleoecological knowledge. Seventy-two sites with paleoecological information are identified; these sites are dated with 234 radiocarbon dates. Sites occur primarily between ca. 36°N and 38°30N latitudes, and from ca. 1000 m to over 3000 m elevation on both sides of the Sierran crest, although more sites have been analyzed on the west side of the crest than the east side. In general, packrat (Neotoma) midden series are located at the lowest elevations, meadow and marsh cores originate from mid-elevations, and lake sediments have been analyzed from the highest elevations. Significant gaps in our knowledge occur for much of the east side of the crest, for both sides of the range above modern trecline, and for time periods older than the latest Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics

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