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Géographie physique et Quaternaire

Volume 53, numéro 1, 1999, p. 7-24

Late Quaternary History of the White Mountains, New Hampshire and Adjacent Southeastern Québec

Sous la direction de Woodrow B. Thompson, Brian K. Fowler et P. Thompson Davis

Direction : André G. Roy (directeur)

Rédaction : Pierre J. H. Richard (rédacteur en chef)

Éditeur : Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal

ISSN : 0705-7199 (imprimé)  1492-143X (numérique)

DOI : 10.7202/004879ar

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Article

History of research on glaciation in the White Mountains, New Hampshire (U.S.A.)

Woodrow B. Thompson

Abstract

The glacial geology of the White Mountains in New Hampshire has been the subject of many investigations since the 1840's. A series of controversies evolved during this period. First was the question of what geologic processes were responsible for eroding the bedrock and depositing the cover of surficial sediments. By the 1860's, the concept of glaciation replaced earlier theories invoking floods and icebergs. Research in the late 1800's concerned the relative impact of continental versus local glaciation. Some workers believed that surficial deposits in northern New Hampshire were the product of valley glaciers radiating from the White Mountains, but in the early 1900's continental glaciation was established as the most important process across the region. Debate over the extent and timing of alpine glaciation in the Presidential Range has continued until recent years. The most intensely argued topic has been the manner in which the Late Wisconsinan ice sheet withdrew from the White Mountains: whether by rapid stagnation and downwastage, or by progressive retreat of a still-active ice margin. The stagnation model became popular in the 1930's and was unchallenged until the late 1900's. Following a research hiatus lasting over 40 years, renewed interest in the glacial history of the White Mountains continues to inspire additional work.

Résumé

Histoire de la recherche sur les glaciations dans les White Mountains du New Hampshire (É.-U.A.)

La géologie glaciaire des White Mountains au New Hampshire a fait l'objet de nombreuses études de 1840 à 1940. Les recherches ont donné lieu à différentes controverses au cours de cette période. Il y a d'abord eu la question des processus géologiques responsables de l'érosion du substratum et de la mise en place des sédiments de surface. Vers les années 1860, l'hypothèse des glaciers a prévalu sur les théories évoquant les inondations et les icebergs. La recherche à la fin du XIX e siècle cherchait à déterminer l'apport relatif des glaciations continentales et des glaciations locales. Certains chercheurs croyaient que les dépôts de surface dans le nord du New Hampshire provenaient de glaciers alpins issus des White Mountains, mais au début du XX e siècle le concept de la glaciation à l'échelle continentale a été établie comme étant le processus principal dans la région. Toutefois, le débat sur l'extension et le déroulement des glaciations alpines dans le Presidential Range s'est poursuivi jusqu'à récemment. La question la plus discutée concerne la façon dont s'est fait le retrait de l'inlandsis wisconsinien : stagnation et ablation rapides du front ou retrait progressif d'une marge glaciaire encore active. Le modèle de la stagnation l'a emporté dans les années 1930 et est demeuré incontesté jusqu'à la fin du XX e siècle Après une interruption de plus de quarante ans, un intérêt renouvelé a inspiré des travaux additionnels sur la question.

Zusammenfassung

Geschichte der Forschung über die Vergletscherungen in den White Mountains, New Hampshire

Die glaziale Geologie der White Mountains in New Hampshire ist seit 1840 Thema vieler Studien gewesen. In dieser Zeit entstand eine Reihe von Kontroversen. Die erste Frage war, welche geologischen Prozesse für die Erosion des anstehenden Gesteins und die Ablagerung der Decke von Oberflächensedimenten verantwortlich waren. In den 60er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts ersetzte das Konzept einer Vergletscherung frühere Theorien, die Überschwemmungen und Eisberge ins Feld führten. Die Forschung im späten 19. Jahrhundert beschäftigte sich mit der relativen Auswirkung der kontinentalen im Verhältnis zur lokalen Vergletscherung. Einige Forscher glaubten, dass Oberflächenablagerungen in Nord-New Hampshire das Produkt von Talgletschern waren, die von den White Mountains ausgingen, aber zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts bestimmte man die kontinentale Vergletscherung als den wichtigsten Prozess in der ganzen Region. Die Debatte über die Ausdehnung und den zeit- lichen Ablauf der alpinen Vergletscherung in der Presidential Range hat bis vor kurzem fort- gedauert. Am intensivsten hat man darüber gestritten, wie die Spät-Wisconsin-Eisdecke sich von den White Mountains zurückgezogen hat : entweder durch schnelles Stagnieren und Abwärtszehrung oder durch progressiven Rückzug eines immer noch aktiven Eisrands. Das Stagnier-Modell wurde in den 30er Jahren unseres Jahrhunderts populär und blieb bis gegen Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts unumstritten. Nach einer über 40 Jahre dauernden Unterbrechung der Forschungen beginnt ein neues Interesse an der glazialen Geschichte der White Mountains wieder zusätzliche Forschungen einzuleiten.

 

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Auteur : Woodrow B. Thompson
Titre : History of research on glaciation in the White Mountains, New Hampshire (U.S.A.)
Revue : Géographie physique et Quaternaire, Volume 53, numéro 1, 1999, p. 7-24
URI : http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/004879ar
DOI : 10.7202/004879ar

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