National Research Program


Tropical and Arid Regions Climate

The Tropical and Arid Regions Climate Project seeks to quantify past variations in climate and the hydrologic balance through studies of paleo and modern surface- and ground-water systems using stable isotope and other chemical methodologies. Objectives of the Tropical and Arid Regions Climate Projects are to determine: (1) the frequency and severity of drought during the past 10,000 years, (2) the frequency and severity of major cooling events that led to glacial advances in the Colorado Rockies, (3) the frequency of hurricanes that impacted the Carribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the past 400 years, and (4) the impact of climate change on prehistoric Native Americans.

REPORTS PUBLISHED 2002-2011

Benson, L.V., Smoot, J.P., Lund, S.P. , Mensing, S.A., Foit Jr., F.F., and Rye, R.O., in press (web publication 2/28/12), Insights from a synthesis of old and new climate-proxy data from the Pyramid and Winnemucca lake basins for the period 48 to 11.5 cal ka: Quaternary International. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., 2011, Factors Controlling Pre-Columbian and Early Historic Maize Productivity in the American Southwest, Part 1: The Southern Colorado Plateau and Rio Grande Regions: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, v. 18, no. 1, p. 1-60. DOI 10.1007/s10816-010-9082-z (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., 2011, Factors Controlling Pre-Columbian and Early Historic Maize Productivity in the American Southwest, Part 2: The Chaco Halo, Mesa Verde, Pajarito Plateau/Bandelier, and Zuni Archaeological Regions: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, v. 18, no. 1, p. 61-109 . DOI 10.1007/s10816-010-9083-y (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V, 2011, Erratum to: Factors Controlling Pre-Columbian and Early Historic Maize Productivity in the American Southwest, Part 2: The Chaco Halo, Mesa Verde, Pajarito Plateau/Bandelier, and Zuni Archaeological Regions: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, v. 18, no. 1, p. 110. (on-line erratum)

Benson, L.V., Lund, S.P., Smoot, J.P., Rhode, D.E., Spencer, R.J., Verosub, K.L., Louderback, L.A., Johnson, C.A., Rye, R.O., and Negrini, R.M., 2011, The rise and fall of Lake Bonneville between 45 and 10.5 ka: Quaternary International, v. 235, no. 1-2, p. 57-69. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V, 2010, Who provided maize to Chaco Canyon after the mid-12th-century drought?: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 37, no. 3, p. 621-629. (on-line abstract of journal article)  

Benson, L.V., Pauketat, T.R., and Cook, E.R., 2010, Reply to comments of Nolan and Cook: American Antiquity, v. 75, no. 4, p. 984-985.

Benson, L.V., Taylor, H.E., Plowman, T.I., Roth, D.A., and Antweiler, R.C., 2010, The cleaning of burned and contaminated archaeological maize prior to 87Sr/86Sr analysis: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 37, no. 1, p. 84-91. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Berry, M.S., and Benson, 2010, Tree-ring dates and demographic change in the Southern Colorado Plateau and Rio Grande regions, in Kohler, T.A., Varien, M.S., and Wright, A.M., eds., Leaving Mesa Verde - Peril and Change in the thirteenth-century Southwest: University of Arizona Press, chapt. 2, p. 53-74.

Benson, L.V., and Berry, M.S., 2009, Climate change and cultural response in the prehistoric American Southwest: KIVA: The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History, v. 75, no. 1, p. 89-119.

Benson, L.V., Pauketat, T.R., and Cook, E.R., 2009, Cahokia's boom and bust in the context of climate change: American Antiquity, V. 74, p. 467-483.

Benson, L.V., Stein, J.R., Taylor, H.E., 2009, Possible sources of archaeological maize found in Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruin, New Mexico: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 36, no. 2, p. 387-407. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., 2008, Impact of drought on prehistoric western Native Americans, in California Drought an Update -April 2008: California Department of Water Resources, State of California, p. 28-35. (on-line paper in pdf format)

Benson, L.B., Taylor, H.E., Peterson, K.A., Shattock, B.D., Ramotnik, C.A., and Stein, J.R., 2008, Development and evaluation of geochemical methods for the sourcing of archaeological maize: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 35, p. 912-921. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., Berry, M.S., Jolie, E.A., Spangler, J.D., Stahle, D.W., and Hattori, E.M., 2007, Possible impacts of early-11th-, middle-12th- and late-13th-century droughts on western Native Americans and the Mississippian Cahokians: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 26, p. 336-350. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., Madole, R., Kubik, P., McDonald, R.R., 2007, Surface-exposure ages of Front Range moraines that may have formed during the Younger Dryas, 8.2 cal ka, and Little Ice Age events: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 26, p.1,638-1,649. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L.V., Petersen, K., and Stein, J., 2007, Anasazi (pre-columbian native-american) migrations during the middle-12th and late-13th centuries – Were they drought induced?: Climatic Change, v. 83, p. 187-213. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Wórum, F.P., Carricart-Ganivet, J.P., Benson, L., and Golicher, D., 2007, Simulation and observations of annual density banding in skeletons of Montastraea(Cnidaria: Scaleractinia) growing under thermal stress associated with ocean warming: Limnology and Oceanography, v. 52, p. 2,317-2,323. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf format, 1356 KB - published by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Inc. with open access)

Benson, L.V., Hattori, E.M., Taylor, H.E., Poulson, S.R., and Jolie, E.A., 2006, Isotope sourcing of prehistoric willow and tule textiles recovered from western Great Basin rock shelters and caves-proof of concept: Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 33, Issue 11, p. 1588-1599. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Benson, L., Stein, J., Taylor, H., Friedman, R., and Windes, T.C., 2006, The agricultural productivity of Chaco Canyon and the source(s) of pre-Hispanic maize found in the Pueblo Bonito Great House, in Staller, J.E., and others, eds., Histories of Maize - Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Prehistory, Linguistics, Biogeography, Domestication, and Evolution of Maize: San Diego, Elsevier/Academic Press, p. 289-314.

Benson, L., Madole, R., Landis, G., and Gosse, J., 2005, New data for Late Pleistocene Pinedale alpine glaciation from southwestern Colorado: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 24, p. 49-65. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L., 2004, The Tufas of Pyramid Lake, Nevada. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1267, 14pp. (on-line circular or on-line circular in pdf format, 18.9 MB)

Benson, L., 2004, Western lakes, in Gillespie, A.R., Porter, S.C., and Atwater, B., eds., The Quaternary Period in the United States--Developments in Quaternary Science: Amsterdam, Elsevier, p. 185-204.

Benson, L.V., 2004, Sources of ancient maize found in Chacoan great houses: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3035. (on-line fact sheet)

Benson, L.V., 2004, The tufas of Pyramid Lake, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3044. (on-line fact sheet)

Benson, L.V., Madole, R., Phillips, W., Landis, G., Thomas, T., and Kubik, P., 2004, The probable importance of snow and sediment shielding on cosmogenic ages of north-central Colorado Pinedale and pre-Pinedale moraines: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 23, no 1-2, p. 193-206. (on-line abstract)

Mensing, S.A, Benson, L.V., Kashgarian, M., and Lund, S., 2004, A Holocene pollen record of persistent droughts from Pyramid Lake, Nevada, USA: Quaternary Research, v. 62, p. 29-38. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L.V., Barber, D., Andrews, J.T., Taylor, H.E., and Lamothe, P., 2003, Rare-earth elements and Nd and Pb isotopes as source indicators for Labrador Sea clay-size sediments during Heinrich event 2: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 22, p. 881-889. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L., Cordell, L., Vincent, K., Taylor, H., Stein, J., Farmer, G.L., and Futa, K., 2003, Ancient maize from Chacoan great houses: Where was it grown: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 100, no. 22, pgs. 13111-13115. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L.V., Linsley, B., Smoot, J., Mensing, S., Lund, S., Stine, S., and Sarna-Wojcicki, A., 2003, Influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the climate of the Sierra Nevada, California and Nevada: Quaternary Research, v. 59, no. 2, p. 151-159. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L.V., Liddicoat, J.C., Smoot, J.P., Sarna-Wojcicki, A., Negrini, R.M., and Lund, S.P., 2003, The age of the Mono Lake excursion: Quaternary Science Reviews v. 22, p. 135-140. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L., Lund, S., Negrini, R., Braddock, L., and Zic, M., 2003, Response of North American Great Basin Lakes to Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 22, p. 2,239-2,251. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L., Kashgarian, M.; Rye, R., Lund, S., Paillet, F., Smoot, J., Kester, C., Mensing, S., Meko, D., and Lindstrom, S., 2002, Holocene multidecadal and multicentennial droughts affecting Northern California and Nevada: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 21, p. 659-682. (on-line abstract)

Benson, L.V., Paillet, F.L., 2002, HIBAL: A hydrologic-isotopic-balance model for application to paleolake systems: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 21, p. 1521-1539. (on-line abstract)

Lyons, W.B., Nezat, C. A., Benson, L.V., Bullen, T.D., Graham, E.Y., Kidd, J., Welch, K.A., and Thomas, J.M., 2002. Strontium isotopic signatures of the streams and lakes of Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica: chemical weathering in a polar climate: Aquatic Geochemistry, v. 8, p. 75-95. (on-line abstract)

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Larry V. Benson (professional profile)
U.S. Geological Survey, Suite E-127, 3215 Marine St., Boulder, CO 80303
Email: lbenson@usgs.gov
Telephone: 303-541-3005

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