High density carbonate rhizoliths were found from a loess-paleosol succession from the late Wisconsin period (21-11 ka) in Illinois. Their morphology shows that they formed in a close contact with living and decomposing roots, suggesting a root/microbial respiration origin. Carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotopic analyses were performed on 36 and 37 individual rhizoliths of two separate 10 cm intervals and 98 bulk rhizoliths of all 10 cm intervals. The results of the individual rhizolith δ13C and δ18O analyses suggest that the carbon source was largely derived from respiring C3, C4 and microbial biomass, and that meteoric water was controlled mainly by warm-season precipitation. The results of bulk rhizolith δ13C and δ18O analyses show that warm-season proxies varied in phase with glacial fluctuations at submillennial scales, suggesting long-term seasonal forcing may have played an important role on climate change during the late Wisconsin glaciation in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L13203 1-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 16 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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