In the late 1970s American and Russian scientists met twice in conferences on Quaternary paleoclimates sponsored by the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Bilateral Agreement on the Environment. The conferees agreed to prepare volumes summarizing the current status of research in the two countries. Late-Quaternary Environments of the United States provides a two-volume overview of new and significant information on research of the last fifteen years, since the 1965 publication of Quaternary of the United States, edited by H E. Wright, Jr., and D. G. Frey. The volume on the late Quaternary in the Soviet Union will also be published by the University of Minnesota Press. Volume 1 of Late-Quaternary Environments of the United States covers the Late Pleistocene, the interval between 25,000 and 10,000 years ago -- a time of extreme environmental stress as the world passed from full-glacial conditions of the last ice age into the present interglacial age. The interval of geologic time since the last glacial period -- termed the Holocene -- is the subject of Volume 2. The complexity of the natural changes occurring in the late Quaternary, and their interrelationships, make it impossible for a single scientific discipline to encompass them. Thus the papers in both volumes come from authors in many research fields -- geology, ecology, physical geography, archaeology, geochemistry, geophysics, limnology, soil science, paleontology, and climatology. Many of the hypotheses presented -- especially on the dynamic Late Pleistocene environments -- are still hotly debated and will require additional testing as scientists strive to reconstruct the changing world of the glacial and postglacial ages.
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