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The bluffs are eastward from the Missouri River, and form the geological boundary of the floodplain on the Iowa side of the river. -- Jerry picker 06:26, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
I wonder if the excellent new section on the Loess bluffs near Vicksburg, MS might not be more appropriate in the article on Loess soils and landforms. "The Loess Hills" is a proper name for a specific named geological feature on the Iowa side of the Missouri Valley, whereas other "loess hills" are present in other U.S. locales, including the Arikaree Breaks in KS and the bluffs near Vicksburg. Jerry picker 23:38, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I made the addition to 'loess hills' that you very correctly moved to 'loess.' Good catch! I grew up on the ones in Iowa and am living on the ones in Mississippi. Except for the climatic conditions and consequent surficial responses the similarities between the two geomorphologies and the internal soils are very very strong. Jim Warriner Vicksburg, MS
The additions and edits by 18.104.22.168 are excellent! Please tell us a little about yourself. Jerry picker 19:29, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
The comparison between the loess deposits in western Iowa and those in China do not stand up. The Shaanxi deposits are far thicker in depth, wider in extent and millions of years older than Iowa's, and have an origin as desert sediments, whereas Iowa's loess is glacial in origin. In fact, geophysicists have been able to date the rise of the Himalayas using the Chinese loess deposits - the rise of the mountains having induced desert conditions in central China, which led to the deposition of sand and loess. China's loess plateau is much more similar to the loess plateau of central Nebraska. Check out the map at this URL: http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/govdocs/text/greatplains/fig18.jpg It shows the Nebraska loess as being an extension of the Sandhills, the smaller silt sized particles being carried by the wind further south and east; whereas Iowa's loess was picked up from the Missouri River floodplain and deposited much closer to it's origin. This makes the Chinese and Nebraska loess much different structurally - the loess particles with desert origins are more rounded, having been abraided by the winds for long periods of time; while the glacial loess particles are angular, having been pulverized from source rock, picked up by the wind, and deposited in a relatively short time span. This is what makes Iowa's loess hills so distinctive in terms of their angular bluffs and deep box-shaped canyons. Comparing Iowa loess to Chinese loess does Iowa a disservice. However, the comparison has become so prevalent in the public that it is hard to counter - I don't know if wikipedia is the best place to begin to correct the misunderstanding???
Also, I have a bunch of interesting maps and pictures of the Loess Hills but can't figure out how to embed them. Can anyone help??