Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine Schubert, Chris Widga

Committee Members

Joshua Samuels, Brandon Curry


The Saltville valley in southwestern Virginia is home to Quaternary localities containing paleontological and archaeological remains. Historically the valley has been mined for salt and the small lakes, ponds and springs along the valley floor have a brackish signature. A preliminary report on the site’s ostracode fauna suggested that the site’s water was not always saline. This study analyzed modern and Quaternary ostracodes to understand the valley’s hydrologic and chemical evolution. Sediments contained primarily freshwater species, including the environmentally sensitive Candona crogmaniana. The presence of Pelocypris tuberculatum and a new Fabaeformiscandona species throughout a vertical section spanning the latest Pleistocene and Holocene suggests that ephemeral pools were being fed by freshwater springs throughout the latest Quaternary. Climate ranges, estimated through species autecology and MOTR, reveal that the site’s mean annual temperature was between 0 - 19.1℃. Ostracode salinity tolerances suggest that the site was fresh during the sampled record.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.