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ELSEVIER Palaeogeography,Palaeoclimatology,Palaeoecology112(1994)1-17 The paleoecology and stratigraphy of Nichols Meadow, Sierra
 

Summary: ELSEVIER Palaeogeography,Palaeoclimatology,Palaeoecology112(1994)1-17
The paleoecology and stratigraphy of Nichols Meadow, Sierra
National Forest, California, USA
Peter A. Koehler a, R. Scott Anderson ~,b
" Quaternary Studies Program, Box 6013, Bilby Research Center, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011,
USA
bEnvironmental Science Program, Box 5694, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
Received 26 November 1993;revised and accepted 13April 1994
Abstract
Sediment stratigraphy and pollen, plant macrofossil and charcoal analyses, along with nine radiocarbon dates from
Nichols Meadow, provides the most intensive investigation of Sierra Nevada montane meadow development and
paleoecology. During pollen zone NM-I (ca. 18,500--12,500 yr B.P.) the Nichols Meadow area contained a stream
during the Tioga glacial stage. The presence of high Artemisia and Gramineae pollen percentages along with a very
low pollen influx rate reflects a cold-dry steppe-woodland environment. Pollen zone NM-II (ca. 12,500-8800 yr B.P.)
documents the development of a lower montane forest and giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) community
which existed around a small meadow. The higher sediment accumulation rates suggest that fallen trees contributed
to the aggregation of meadow sediments. Early Holocene aridity is recorded in pollen zone NM-III (ca. 8800-6000
yr B.P.) by poorly preserved pollen. We infer that the forest trees closed in on the meadow and occupied the meadow
floor. The reduction in available moisture caused giant sequoia to become locally extinct in the Nichols Meadow area
probably moving into their current distribution within the Nelder Grove. Pollen zone NM-IV (6000 yr B.P.-present)

  

Source: Anderson, R. Scott - Quaternary Sciences Program, Northern Arizona University

 

Collections: Geosciences; Environmental Sciences and Ecology