Neoglacial fluctuations of terrestrial, tidewater, and calving lacustrine glaciers, Blackstone-Spencer ice complex, Kenai Mountains, Alaska
University of Washington, Seattle
208 p., Illus., Maps
Alaska Resources Library & Information Services: QE576 A4 C76 1997; Geophysical Institute Library: THESIS NOT UAF
The glaciers surrounding the Blackstone-Spencer Ice Complex display a variety of termini types: Tebenkov, Spencer, Bartlett, Skookum, Trail, Burns, Shakespeare, Marquette, Lawrence, and Ripon glaciers end in terrestrial margins; Blackstone and Beloit glaciers have tidewater termini; and Portage Glacier has a calving lacustrine margin. In addition, steep temperature and precipitation gradients exist across the ice complex from the maritime environment of Prince William Sound to the colder, drier interior. The Neoglacial history of Tebenkov Glacier, as based on overrun trees near the terminus, shows advances ca. 250-430 AD (calibrated date), ca. 1215-1275 AD (calibrated date), and ca. 1320-1430 AD (tree ring evidence), all intervals of glacier advance around the Gulf of Alaska. However, two tidewater glaciers in Blackstone Bay retreated from their outermost moraines by 1350 AD, apparently asynchronously with respect to the regional climate signal. The most extensive Kenai Mountain glacier expansions during Neoglaciation occurred in the late Little Ice Age. The outermost moraines are adjacent to mature forest stands and bog peats that yield dates as old as 5,600 BP. Prince William Sound glaciers advanced during two Little Ice Age cold periods, 1380-1680 and 1830-1900 AD. The terrestrial glaciers around the Blackstone-Spencer Ice Complex all built moraines during the 19th century and began retreating between 1875 and 1900 AD. Portage and Burns glaciers began retreating between 1790 and 1810 AD, but their margins remained close to the outermost moraines during the 19th century. Regional glacier fluctuations are broadly synchronous in the Gulf of Alaska region. With the exception of the two tidewater glaciers in Blackstone Bay, all glaciers in the Kenai Mountains, no matter their sizes, altitudes, orientations, or types of margins, retreated at the end of the Little Ice Age. The climate signal, especially temperature, appears to be the strongest control on glacier behavior during the last millennium.
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