Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine W. Schubert, Chris Widga

Committee Members

Michael J. Whitelaw


Two distinct studies within the Saltville Valley of southwestern Virginia revealed insights into local Pleistocene geology and paleontology. A variety of analytical techniques were applied to gravel deposits within the paleontological site of SV-5/7 that revealed this unit is very poorly sorted, has a subangular matrix, and contains significant components of silt and sand in addition to rounded cobbles. These results suggest that rather than being deposited by fluvial processes as previously suggested, these gravels were likely the result of one or many debris flows. Additionally, the identity of fossil muskoxen from Saltville was reassessed using cranial and dental material. The results of the comparative anatomy of Bootherium and Ovibos specimens suggest that it may be possible to distinguish between fossil muskoxen genera using teeth, and to a lesser extent, cranial measurements. This analysis reaffirms that Bootherium is the only muskoxen definitively known from the Pleistocene of the Saltville Valley.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.