Response of soils and soil ecosystems to the Pennsylvanian–Permian climate transition in the upper fluvial plain of the Dunkard Basin, southeastern Ohio, USA

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Direct exposure of paleosols to the atmosphere during formation make them ideal for reconstructing paleoclimate. Paleosol and ichnofossil properties are dependently linked making it important to study them in tandem, to avoid errors in interpretation. Small scale studies (<1 >km) yield high resolution data that can be used to assess allogenic processes through comparison of spatial and temporal trends. This study used field and laboratory analyses to gather data from Late Pennsylvanian to Early Permian Upper Monongahela and Lower Dunkard group paleosols on Ohio Route 33 in Meigs County, OH, USA. The physical and geochemical properties of the paleosols from the field sites indicate that channel migration was the primary control on paleosol formation in the study area, however, a clear climate signal was observed. The change in paleosol type and calculated mean annual precipitation (MAP) values indicate that the climate became more strongly seasonal and drier over the course of the Pennsylvanian–Permian transition with a temporary excursion to a more ever-wet climate with higher MAP, marked by the occurrence of the Waynesburg Coal at the Pennsylvanian–Permian boundary.