Rivers, Glaciers, & Mammoths: Geoarchaeology in the San Luis Valley of CO

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Rivers, Glaciers, & Mammoths: Geoarchaeology in the San Luis Valley of CO
February 17, 2017 12:00 pm
February 17, 2017 1:00 pm
Katie Horton
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, 80523, United States

Jared Beeton, PhD

Date: Friday, February 17, 2017
Location: Lory Student Center 328-330
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Jared Beeton_250The San Luis Valley (SLV) of Colorado is home to Great Sand Dunes National Park, the mighty Rio Grande, two mountain ranges with fourteeners, and a large semi-arid alpine valley floor. The San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains were both glaciated in the late Pleistocene, leaving behind landforms such as moraines that relate to climate change. Four mammoth digs are active in the SLV; all are near paleo-water sources, three are in alluvial fans, and two are archeological sites. One of our big research questions is whether humans were associated with these mammoths. Fluvial geomorphology along the Rio Grande and its tributaries provides data on large-scale environmental change. A high water table in the SLV has constructed paleo and modern wetlands, which also preserve data on climate change and were magnets for cultural activity on the Valley floor. Spatial and temporal patterns of erosion, deposition, and stability in these landforms (moraines, fluvial terraces, wetlands, alluvial fans) relate to the archaeological story of the SLV. Radiocarbon and OSL data are providing archaeologists with a map of the most likely locations for the preservation of cultural materials of given ages.

About the Speaker

Jared Beeton is a Professor of Physical Geography at Adams State University in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. He has a PhD in Geography from The University of Kansas where he studied geoarchaeology under the guidance of Rolfe Mandel. Jared spends much of his time in the mountains of Colorado studying landforms, skiing or fly-fishing depending on the season, and playing with his three-year-old son Oliver.

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