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Tephra layers near Glacier Peak in the North Cascade Range provide limiting dates for four periods of alpine glacier advance. Field relations suggest that late Wisconsin alpine glaciers last advanced prior to the eruption of tephra layers from Glacier Peak about 11,250 yr B.P. Late Wisconsin deglaciation in the central North Cascades was complete prior to the Glacier Peak tephra eruptions. Glaciers again expanded in the early Holocene about 8400 – 8300 yr B.P. Soil formed in alpine meadows during an episode of mild climate in the middle Holocene prior to at least two intervals of glacier expansion: an older episode between 5100 and 3400 yr B.P., and a younger episode within the last 1000 yr.
An ash layer that appears geochemically correlative with Mt. St. Helens tephra set S occurs in a sequence of Pleistocene lake sediments in the Ohop Valley of the southern Puget Lowland, below Vashon till deposited during the maximum late Pleistocene advance (Fraser Glaciation) of the Puget Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. The Puget Lobe reached its maximum southern extent ca. 14,000–14,500 yr B.P., and at least part of set S is evidently somewhat older. Previous radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dates for set S have ranged from 13,000 to 16,000 yr B.P.
Geochemically correlative deposits of set S tephra occur in slackwater sediments coeval with the Missoula Floods in eastern Washington, produced by jökulhlaups through the Purcell Trench Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. These relationships suggest that advances of glacier lobes on the southern margin of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet were nonsynchronous, as the Pucell Trench lobe east of the Cascade Range advanced to its maximum southern extent prior to the time of the eruption of set S, before the Puget Lobe west of the Cascades reached its maximum southern extent.
The Mt. Edgecumbe Volcanic Field (MEVF), located on Kruzof Island near Sitka Sound in southeast Alaska, experienced a large multiple-stage eruption during the last glacial maximum (LGM)-Holocene transition that generated a regionally extensive series of compositionally similar rhyolite tephra horizons and a single well-dated dacite (MEd) tephra. Marine sediment cores collected from adjacent basins to the MEVF contain both tephra-fall and pyroclastic flow deposits that consist primarily of rhyolitic tephra and a minor dacitic tephra unit. The recovered dacite tephra correlates with the MEd tephra, whereas many of the rhyolitic tephras correlate with published MEVF rhyolites. Correlations were based on age constraints and major oxide compositions of glass shards. In addition to LGM-Holocene macroscopic tephra units, four marine cryptotephras were also identified. Three of these units appear to be derived from mid-Holocene MEVF activity, while the youngest cryptotephra corresponds well with the White River Ash eruption at ∼ 1147 cal yr BP. Furthermore, the sedimentology of the Sitka Sound marine core EW0408-40JC and high-resolution SWATH bathymetry both suggest that extensive pyroclastic flow deposits associated with the activity that generated the MEd tephra underlie Sitka Sound, and that any future MEVF activity may pose significant risk to local population centers.
New radiocarbon dates on charcoal incorporated in proximal airfall deposits indicate the largest late Pleistocene eruption from the Mt. Edgecumbe volcanic field in Southeast Alaska occurred ca. 11,250 ± 50 14C yr B.P. The more precise dating of the principal Edgecumbe tephra layer greatly improves its utility as a tephrochronologic marker horizon in southeastern Alaska.
Two widespread tephra deposits constrain the age of the Delta Glaciation in central Alaska. The Old Crow tephra (ca. 140,000 ± 10,000 yr), identified by electron microprobe and ion microprobe analyses of individual glass shards, overlies an outwash terrace coeval with the Delta glaciation. The Sheep Creek tephra (ca. 190,000 yr) is reworked in alluvium of Delta age. The upper and lower limiting tephra dates indicate that the Delta glaciation occurred during marine oxygen isotope stage 6. We hypothesize that glaciers in the Delta River Valley reached their maximum Pleistocene extent during this cold interval because of significant mid-Pleistocene tectonic uplift of the east-central Alaska Range.
The geochemistry, petrography, and distribution of the Jarvis Creek Ash (Péwé, 1965, 1975a) indicate that this tephra from the lower Delta River area of central Alaska is correlative with vol volcanic ash from sites in south-central Alaska near Tangle Lakes (upper Delta River area) and the Cantwell ash from Hayes volcano found in the upper Nenana River area (Riehle et al., 1990). Volcanic glass compositions of distal Jarvis Creek and Tangle Lakes tephra samples are compositionally restricted, while several discrete glass populations are present in some samples are compositionally collected nearer Hayes volcano. These correlations extend the known distribution of Hayes volcano tephras across the Alaska Range and into central Alaska, a distance of more than 650 km. New geochronologic data for the Jarvis Creek Ash suggest it was deposited ca. 3660 ± 125 yr B.P., consistent with previous age estimates of tephra eruptions at the Hayes volcano. The name “Jarvis Creek Ash” has well-established priority with respect to “Cantwell ash” or other local names for this tephra layer from the Hayes volcano.
The late Wisconsin Shelbyville till was deposited in southern Illinois c. 20 000–21 000 year B.P. and records the maximum southern advance of the Lake Michigan lobe of the Laurentide ice sheet. The yield strength calculated for a representative till debris flow found just south of the ice margin is 8 kPa (0.08 bar), and probably approximates yield strength of basal Shelbyville till. An ice-profile model assuming plastic behavior in basal till suggests the southern Lake Michigan lobe may have been unusually thin. Reconstructed Laurentide glacier profiles from the south-west and western Great Plains (South Dakota, Alberta, Minnesota, and Montana), and the MacKenzie Delta, N.W.T., are similar to those inferred for the southern Great Lakes area, and much thinner than those of most modern ice sheets. The Pleistocene Laurentide ice sheet may have been asymmetric: thicker in the east than in the west. Glaciers resting on weak sediments can move both by subglacial sediment deformation (creep) and sliding at the sediment–ice interface. Till rheology is complex; shearing of till by over-riding glaciers would increase porosity and further reduce yield strength.
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