In 2014, the Quaternary Research journal published an entire special issue on the “Snowmastodon Project.” As self-stated “This special volume of Quaternary Research represents a comprehensive scientific report of “The Snowmastodon Project,” as the investigations at the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site came to be known. It summarized the work of scientists from more than 20 institutions, the volume details the environments in which the animals lived, provides insight into how they died, and forms the foundation of our understanding of alpine ecosystem dynamics during the Last Interglacial Period in the Rocky Mountains.”
The work is summarized in “Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume: A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA”
This paper highlights how the Ziegler site was particularly special for the consistency in its geological record. It produced records from the entirety of one geological time period and partial records from others, almost 100,000 years of record. The data researchers gathered from bone, plant, pollen and insect fossils, as well as from dirt and rocks from the site, were able to provide insights on how ecosystems respond to changes in climate. The article notes how the Zigler fossil site is particularly special because it gives insight into high elevation ecosystems, a less studied area. Researchers found that in many cases, the Rocky Mountain ecosystem was tied to other global trends in climate variation, however two distinct periods broke away from global trends. This shows that high elevation climate predictions are hard to make and that effects of climate change can vary on small geographic scales. The conclusion of the papers is that the Rocky mountain ecosystems are very climatically sensitive, meaning they are influenced greatly by changes in the environment, and that the Rocky mountains ecosystems were very volatile during the last 100,000 years.
Ian M. Miller, Jeffrey S. Pigati, R. Scott Anderson, Kirk R. Johnson, Shannon A. Mahan, Thomas A. Ager, Richard G. Baker, Maarten Blaauw, Jordon Bright, Peter M. Brown, Bruce Bryant, Zachary T. Calamari, Paul E. Carrara, Michael D. Cherney, John R. Demboski, Scott A. Elias, Daniel C. Fisher, Harrison J. Gray, Danielle R. Haskett, Jeffrey S. Honke, Stephen T. Jackson, Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno, Douglas Kline, Eric M. Leonard, Nathaniel A. Lifton, Carol Lucking, H. Gregory McDonald, Dane M. Miller, Daniel R. Muhs, Stephen E. Nash, Cody Newton, James B. Paces, Lesley Petrie, Mitchell A. Plummer, David F. Porinchu, Adam N. Rountrey, Eric Scott, Joseph J.W. Sertich, Saxon E. Sharpe, Gary L. Skipp, Laura E. Strickland, Richard K. Stucky, Robert S. Thompson, Jim Wilson, Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume: A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA, Quaternary Research, Volume 82, Issue 3, 2014, Pages 618-634, ISSN 0033-5894, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2014.07.004. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003358941400088X)