Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



The Journal of Geology, 2012, volume 120, p. 333–345; DOI: 10.1086/664777


Copyright (c) 2012 by The University of Chicago. Used by permission.


The Berino paleosol is the first record of a directly dated Aridisol in the American Southwest where paleoclimatic conditions during the time of pedogenesis can be estimated. The noncalcic, argillic paleosol formed in eolian sand during the cool, wet climate of the mid- and late Wisconsin, marine isotope stages 3 and 2, in presently semiarid southeastern New Mexico. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of the Mescalero sand sheet and the Berino indicates that soil formation occurred during the period 50–18 ka. The paleosol is a red 2.5YR hue Bt horizon, 120 cm thick, with 25% clay, 0.36% Fe, and an absence of visible carbonate. It is buried by younger eolian sand, although at the edges of the sand sheet, it is unburied and a relict soil. Red argillic paleosols in other sand sheets in the region may correlate with the Berino. The Berino paleosol is formally named as a pedostratigraphic unit.