After the Glaciers Departed

Bill Eckerle, Principal Investigator, Western GeoArch Research, LLC.

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Latest Pleistocene and Holocene Geologic, Paleoenvironmental, and Archaeological Pre-History of the Greater Yellowstone Region.  While the geologic story of the greater Yellowstone Park region encompasses a vast expanse of geological time Bill Eckerlee will take his audience on a tour of “recent” time for this region.  The last page and final paragraph of the geological “story” describes the post-glacial era spanning only the last 14,000 years.  As icecaps and valley glaciers melted and glacial-melt floodwaters subsided, the landscape was re-colonized by plants and animals, and Native Americans migrated into the region.  Study of geology, soils, pollen, and archaeology have produced a nuanced reconstruction of changes in regional geology, ecology, as well as changes in Native American culture.  Occuring during this time period were floods of almost unbelievable magnitude, expansion and retreat of sand dune fields, advance and withdrawal of alpine cirque glaciers, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, massive landslides, vegetation change in response to climate change, as well as cultural adaptation to ever-changing environmental conditions.  Bill’s talk will provide the audience with an understanding this short slice of late-geological time, and help us to appreciate the connections between geological events and historical plant, animal, and human communities.