The importance of both geological and pedological processes in control of grain size and sedimentation rates in Peoria Loess

Hong Wang, Joseph A. Mason, William L. Balsam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The loess-paleosol succession in the Peoria Loess in southern Illinois is characterized as alternating loess layers and weathering bands, known as paleosol A horizons. The fast loess accumulation during the late Wisconsin glaciation interacted with the incipient pedogenesis and caused unclear boundaries of loess-paleosol alternations in soil horizonation and mineralogy. Parameters of grain size distribution, sedimentation rate, matrix carbonate content and diffuse reflectance (i.e. soil colors and iron oxides) are used in this paper to discuss the geological and pedological influences for the Peoria Loess in Keller Farm section in southern Illinois. The multi-proxy analysis revealed that many paleosol A horizons, defined by the diffuse reflectance variability, contain finer-grained materials with a relatively higher sedimentation rate. It suggests that glaciofluvial sediments were available in the source areas for uploading eolian dust during the temporary ice sheet retreats. The denser vegetation and wetter surface soils on the loess deposit area could increase the dust trapping efficiency and caused a greater accumulation rate of loess deposits. The coarser-grained materials and slower sedimentation rate are often found in loess layers. It suggests that strong surface winds transported the coarser-grained materials from local dust sources and sparse vegetation and dry surface soils reduced the dust trapping efficiency during the ice sheet readvance. The strong interactions between the geological and pedological processes played an important role on the loess-paleosol alternations in southern Illinois during the late Wisconsin glaciation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-400
Number of pages13
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffuse reflectance variability
  • Geological and pedological interaction in Peoria Loess
  • Grain size distribution
  • Paleoclimate change
  • Sedimentation rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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