Modern, Sangamon and Yarmouth soil development in loess of unglaciated southwestern Illinois

David A. Grimley, Leon R. Follmer, Randall E. Hughes, Peter A. Solheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Thebes Section in unglaciated southwestern Illinois contains a well preserved ∼ 500 kyr loess-paleosol sequence with four loesses and three interglacial soils. Various magnetic, mineralogical, and elemental properties were analyzed and compared over the thickness of soil sola. These proxies for soil] development intensity have the following trend: Yarmouth Geosol > Sangamon Geosol > modern soil. Quartz/plagioclase, Zr/Sr, and TiO2/Na2O ratios were most sensitive to weathering. Frequency dependent magnetic susceptibility and anhysteretic remanent magnetization, greatest in A horizons, also correspond well with soil development intensity. Neoformed mixed-layered kaolinite/expandables, suggestive of a warm/humid climate, were detected in the Sangamon and Yarmouth soil sola. Clay illuviation in soils was among the least sensitive indicators of soil development. Differences in properties among interglacial soils are interpreted to primarily reflect soil development duration, with climatic effects being secondary. Assuming logarithmic decreases in weathering rates, the observed weathering in the Sangamon Geosol is consistent with 50 kyr of interglacial weathering (Oxygen Isotope Stage 5) compared to 10 kyr for the modern soil (Oxygen Isotope Stage 1). We propose that the Yarmouth Geosol in the central Midwest formed over 180 kyr of interglacial weathering (including oxygen isotope stages 7, 9, and 11).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-244
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Modern, Sangamon and Yarmouth soil development in loess of unglaciated southwestern Illinois'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this