The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 38 Number 3: 53-58 - July 1976

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Pollen Analysis and the Origin of Cave Sediments in the Central Kentucky Karst
Gilbert M. Peterson


Pollen analyses of cave and surface sediments in and near the Central Kentucky Karst show that pollen spectra from cave sediments do no reflect regional pollen spectra, but, instead are similar to local pollen spectra from the points where sediments enter the cave. Pollen spectra from passages draining the wooded Mammoth Cave Plateau are characterized by high percentages of arboreal pollen, while spectra from passages subject to river flooding show low percentages of arboreal pollen. Thus, pollen analysis is a possible means to distringuish cave sediments from different source areas. Pollen is presently transported into cave passages for distances of at least one-half mile, although no pollen is preserved in older cave sediments.

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