• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Abstract - Geomorphology and Geoarchaeology of Lower Highland Creek, Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Fredlund, Glen G. and Sundstorm, Linea. Geomorphology and Geoarchaeology of Lower Highland Creek, Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. 29 p.


The objective of this study was to document Late Quaternary landscape evolution in the lower elevations of Wind Cave National Park. This study focuses on Highland Creek Valley and adjacent slopes within the Red Valley physiographic zone. This broad objective is addressed in two steps: 1) reconstruction of geomorphic change through the analysis of soils and 2) reconstruction of long-term vegetation change. The first step, reported here, involved the mapping, describing, and dating the late Quaternary sediments and soils within the study area. The second step, in progress, includes reconstruction of vegetation in the study area throughout the late Quaternary. Techniques being applied in this stage of the project include pollen, phytolith, and carbon isotope analysis. Analysis of fossil snail shell assemblages may also contribute to this objective. A synthesis of geomorphic and biologic evidence will provide a more complete picture of landscape change, including the interrelationship between climate, vegetation, and geomorphic process. Knowledge of landscape history and age of geomorphic deposits and surfaces will also be used to predict where archaeological sites of differing ages are likely to be preserved within the study area. Finally, placed in their regional context, the results of this study will provide evidence for the archaeological and late Quaternary history of the Black Hills.

Did You Know?

Natural Entrance of Wind Cave

Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.