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Hasiotis, Stephen T.1, Daniel I. Hembree1, Krystan L. Myshrall1, Emily A. Laut1, Rachel Mathis1, Jennifer R. Rogers1
(1) University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

ABSTRACT: Linking Biota, Soils, Hydrology, and the Soil-Water Budget in Northeastern Kansas: Developing Ichnologic Signatures as Proxies for Ancient Climates Through Actualistic Studies

The primary objective of this pilot project was to characterize the record of above- and below-ground trace-making macrobiota with respect to the soil types, local hydrology, and climate in which they have formed on the landscapes of northeastern Kansas. Invertebrates are the most sensitive indicators of soil moisture, water table level, temperature, and solar radiation. Determining the relationship between these parameters and the vertical and lateral distribution of modern traces can, therefore, aid in the reconstruction of ancient environments. The traces can also be used as proxies for the occurrence of organisms in the soil environment.
Transects were taken from the alluvial settings of Mud Creek across several different soil types from proximal (stream channel margin) to distal (floodplain to terrace) environments at the Robinson Tract of the University of Kansas Field Station and Ecological Reserve. Pits and trenches were excavated so that the types and distribution of organisms and their traces could be described and catalogued. Soil structures, moisture and water levels, parent material, grain-size and organic content data for each of the pits were also collected. Several types of burrows were cast with polyurethane resin and dental plaster across portions of the alluvial system. These field data were compiled and integrated with soil-water budget data collected by a climate observatory at the field station. Integration of field data on soil biota traces, soil characters, hydrology, and climate revealed unique distribution patterns of biota and soil types that indicate specific sedimentologic, hydrologic, and pedogenic factors of the alluvial deposystem formed in a moist subhumid climate with 75 to 100 cm of rainfall.
Funding was provided by NSFEPSCoR-KAN-29505.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.