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Recurring middle Pleistocene outburst floods in east-central Alaska

  • Duane G. Froese (a1), Derald G. Smith (a2), John A. Westgate (a3), Thomas A. Ager (a4), Shari J. Preece (a3), Amanjit Sandhu (a3), Randolph J. Enkin (a5) and Florence Weber (a6)...


Recurring glacial outburst floods from the Yukon-Tanana Upland are inferred from sediments exposed along the Yukon River near the mouth of Charley River in east-central Alaska. Deposits range from imbricate gravel and granules indicating flow locally extending up the Yukon valley, to more distal sediments consisting of at least 10 couplets of planar sands, granules, and climbing ripples with up-valley paleocurrent indicators overlain by massive silt. An interglacial organic silt, occurring within the sequence, indicates at least two flood events are associated with an earlier glaciation, and at least three flood events are associated with a later glaciation which postdates the organic silt. A minimum age for the floods is provided by a glass fission track age of 560,000 ± 80,000 yr on the GI tephra, which occurs 8 m above the flood beds. A maximum age of 780,000 yr for the floods is based on normal magnetic polarity of the sediments. These age constraints allow us to correlate the flood events to the early-middle Pleistocene. And further, the outburst floods indicate extensive glaciation of the Yukon-Tanana Upland during the early-middle Pleistocene, likely representing the most extensive Pleistocene glaciation of the area.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E3 Canada. Fax: +780-492-2030. E-mail address: (D.G. Froese).


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