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Episodic deposition of Illinois Valley Peoria silt in association with Lake Michigan Lobe fluctuations during the last glacial maximum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2017

Thomas A. Nash
Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
Jessica L. Conroy*
Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
David A. Grimley
Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA Illinois State Geological Survey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA
William R. Guenthner
Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
Ben Brandon Curry
Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA Illinois State Geological Survey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA
*Corresponding author at: Department of Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA. E-mail address: (J.L. Conroy).


The chronology and cause of millennial depositional oscillations within last glacial loess of the Central Lowlands of the United States are uncertain. Here, we present a new age model that indicates the Peoria Silt along the Illinois River Valley accumulated episodically from ~28,500 to 16,000 cal yr BP, as the Lake Michigan Lobe margin fluctuated within northeastern Illinois. The age model indicates accelerated loess deposition coincident with regional glacial advances during the local last glacial maximum. A weakly developed paleosol, the Jules Geosol, represents a period of significantly slower deposition, from 23,700 to 22,000 cal yr BP. A gastropod assemblage-based reconstruction of mean July temperature shows temperatures 6–10°C cooler than modern during Peoria Silt deposition. Stable oxygen and carbon isotope values (δ18O and δ13C) of gastropod carbonate do not vary significantly across the pedostratigraphic boundary of the Jules Geosol, suggesting slower loess accumulation was a result of reduced glacial sediment supply rather than direct climatic factors. However, a decrease in δ18O values occurred between 26,000 and 24,000 cal yr BP, synchronous with the Lake Michigan Lobe’s southernmost advance. This δ18O decrease suggests a coupling of regional summer hydroclimate and ice lobe position during the late glacial period.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017 

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