Central Plains Center for Bioassessment

Identifying floodplain alluviation from post-settlement land use activities in the Delaware River Basin (Kansas): a proof of concept study

Plate 6 from Mandel et al. 1991 KS State Historical Soc. Contract Archeology Pub. #9.
Date September 2012 - September 2013
Contact Debbie Baker
Kansas Water Office
Location Delaware River, NE Kansas


The objective of this proof of concept effort is to identify the post-settlement sediment layer of the modern alluvium (Camp Creek member of the DeForest Formation) that has contributed to the alluviation of some contemporary floodplain systems of the Central Plains region.  We evaluated the potential of plant pollens, phytoliths, and charcoal particles to identify this post-settlement sediment layer by examining these artifacts in the cut banks at two sites along the Delaware River which flows through northeastern Kansas (e.g. Western Corn Belt Plains ecoregion), a region that has experienced and continues to experience high upland and bank erosion as well as the sedimentation of local and downstream aquatic resources (see Bevans 1982, Mandel et. al. 1991, Juracek and Ziegler 2009). 

Initial study of pollen macrofossils suggest a period of change that coincides with the lower portion of the Camp Creek unit of the DeForest Formation.  The Camp Creek unit represents the youngest alluvium dating back to around 500 - 600 years.


Donald Huggins