US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in GSA Bulletin; November/December 2008; v. 120; no. 11/12; p. 1362–1377.


Pb isotope compositions of detrital K-feldspars and U-Pb ages of detrital zircons are used as indicators for determining the sources of Peoria Loess deposited during the last glacial period (late Wisconsin, ca. 25–14 ka) in Nebraska and western Iowa. Our new data indicate that only loess adjacent to the Platte River has Pb isotopic characteristics suggesting derivation from this river. Most Peoria Loess in central Nebraska (up to 20 m thick) is non-glaciogenic, on the basis of Pb isotope ratios in K-feldspars and the presence of 34-Ma detrital zircons. These isotopic characteristics suggest derivation primarily from the Oligocene White River Group in southern South Dakota, western Nebraska, southeastern Wyoming, and northeastern Colorado. The occurrence of 10–25 Ma detrital zircons suggests additional minor contributions of silt from the Oligocene-Miocene Arikaree Group and Miocene Ogallala Group.