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Loess and Paleosols

Loess are silt-sized particles deposited on the Earth's surface by winds. Extensive loess deposits formed during the Ice Ages in areas bordering large, continental glaciers. Paleosols are past soil horizons preserved in a geologic section, indicative of changes in variables such as temperature and precipitation. These deposits provide some of the most dramatic examples of changes in climate and the effect of processes that shape the landscape. Successive layers are often analyzed to provide a history of long term wind behavior and surface processes.

Chinese Loess Plateau - Wikipedia Commons

Accessing Data at the World Data Service for Paleoclimatology

Search Loess Data

Search through loess and paleosol studies using Investigator, Title, Location Name, Parameters, and Latitude/Longitude Bounds.

Launch Loess/Paleosol Data Search

Search All Paleoclimatology Data

Access a free text search of our entire archive.

Launch Paleo Data Search

Interactive Map

Select study locations by region, proximity to a point, or text-based attributes.

Launch Interactive Map

Google Earth Map

Locate and download loess and paleosol studies using a Google Earth map interface. Google Earth must be installed to use this search tool.

Download KMZ File

NCEI Paleo Web Service

Use the NCEI Paleo Web Service to access loess and paleosol study metadata records.

View API Documentation

Contributing Data

To contribute to the loess archive, review our instructions for contributing data. Prospective data providers can email to submit data and study description information.

Other Resources

Dust Indicators and Records from Terrestrial and MArine Palaeoenvironments (DIRTMAP) Database
An initiative to produce a data compilation of dust deposits from the Last Glacial Maximum, Holocene, and Modern periods.