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Géographie physique et Quaternaire

Volume 53, numéro 1, 1999, p. 59-77

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 : 10.7202/004882ar

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Article

Deglaciation of the northwestern White Mountains, New Hampshire

Woodrow B. Thompson

Brian K. Fowler

Christopher C. Dorion

Abstract

The mode of deglaciation in the northwestern White Mountains of New Hampshire has been controversial since the mid 1800's. Early workers believed that active ice deposited the Bethlehem Moraine complex in the Ammonoosuc River basin during recession of the last ice sheet. In the 1930's this deglaciation model was replaced by the concept of widespread simultaneous stagnation and downwastage of Late Wisconsinan ice. The present authors reexamined the Bethlehem Moraine complex and support the original interpretation of a series of moraines deposited by active ice. We found other moraine clusters of similar age to the northeast in the Johns River and Israel River basins. Ice-marginal deposits that probably correlate with the Bethlehem Moraine also occur west of Littleton. The Bethlehem Moraine complex and equivalent deposits in adjacent areas were formed by readvance and oscillatory retreat of the Connecticut Valley lobe of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. This event is called the Littleton-Bethlehem Readvance. Throughout the study area, sequences of glaciolacustrine deposits and meltwater drainage channels indicate progressive northward recession of the glacier margin. Radiocarbon dates from nearby New England and Québec suggest that the ice sheet withdrew from this part of the White Mountains between about 12 500 and 12 000 14 C yr BP. We attribute the Littleton- Bethlehem Readvance to a brief climatic cooling during Older Dyas time, close to 12,000 BP.

Résumé

La déglaciation du nord-ouest des White Mountains, au New Hampshire (E.U.A.)

Le mode de déglaciation du nord-ouest des White Mountains a fait l'objet de contro- verses depuis le milieu du XIX e siècle. Les premiers chercheurs ont supposé que le complexe morainique de Bethlehem dans le bassin de l'Ammonoosuc River avait été mis en place par la glace active au cours du recul du dernier Inlandsis. Au cours des années 1930, ce modèle de déglaciation a été remplacé par le concept selon lequel il y aurait eu stagnation simultanée sur une grande étendue et fonte de l'inlandsis du Wisconsinien supérieur. Les présents auteurs ont réétudié la Moraine de Bethlehem et appuient l'interprétation originelle selon laquelle il s'agit d'un ensemble de moraines terminales mises en place par une glace active. Ils ont aussi découvert d'autres ensembles morainiques d'âge similaire au nord-est, dans les bassins de Johns River et Israel River. Quelques dépôts de marge glaciaire, probablement de la même époque que celle du complexe morainique de Bethlehem, ont aussi été identifiés à l'ouest de Littleton. Le complexe morainique de Bethlehem et les dépôts équivalents dans les zones adjacentes ont été mis en place par récurrence et retrait oscillatoire du lobe de la vallée du Connecticut appartenant à l'Inlandsis laurentidien. Il s'agit de la récurrence de Littleton-Bethlehem. Les dates obtenues en Nouvelle-Angletterre et dans le Québec limitrophe laissent supposer que l'Inlandsis laurentidien s'est retiré de cette partie des White Mountains vers 12 500-12 000 14 C BP. Les auteurs attribuent la récurrence à une refroidissement climatique de courte durée vers 12 000 BP, pendant le Dryas ancien.

Zusammenfassung

Enteisung der nordwestlichen White Mountains, New Hampshire

Die Art des Abschmelzens in den nordwestli- chen White Mountains von New Hampshire ist seit Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts umstritten gewesen. Die ersten Forscher glaubten, dass aktives Eis die Bethlehem-Moräne-Einheit während des Rückzugs der letzten Eisdecke im Becken des Ammonoosuc-Flusses ablagerte. In den 30 er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts wurde dieses Enteisungsmodell durch das Konzept einer gleichzeitigen weitflächigen Stagnation und Abwärtszehrung des Spät-Wisconsin-Eises ersetzt. Die gegenwärtigen Autoren haben die Bethlehem-Moräne-Einheit neu untersucht und stützen die ursprüngliche Interpretation einer Serie von Moränen, welche durch das aktive Eis abgelagert wurden. Sie fanden weitere Moränen-Einheiten ähnlichen Alters nordostwärts in den Becken von Johns River und Israel River. Eisrand-Ablagerungen, die wahrscheinlich mit der Bethlehem-Moräne korrelieren, treten auch westlich von Littleton auf. Die Bethlehem-Moräne-Einheit und entsprechende Ablagerungen in angrenzenden Gebieten wurden durch Rückvorstoβ und oszillatorischen Rückzug der Connecticut Tal-Lobe der laurentischen Eisdecke gebildet. Dies Ereignis nennt man den Littleton-Bethlehem-Rückvorstoβ. Durch das ganze erforschte Gebiet hindurch weisen Folgen glaziallimnischer Ablagerungen und Schmelzwasser-Drainage-Rinnen auf einen Rückzug des Gletscherrands in Richtung Nordwest. Radiokarbondaten vom nahen Neu-England und Québec legen nahe, dass die Eisdecke sich von diesem Teil der White Mountains zwischen etwa 12 500-12 000 14 C Jahren v.u.Z. zurückzog. Wir schreiben den Littleton-Bethlehem Rückvorstoβ einer kurzen Klima-Abkühlung wäh- rend des älteren Dryas zu, um 12 000 v.u.Z.

 

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Auteurs : Woodrow B. Thompson, Brian K. Fowler et Christopher C. Dorion
Titre : Deglaciation of the northwestern White Mountains, New Hampshire
Revue : Géographie physique et Quaternaire, Volume 53, numéro 1, 1999, p. 59-77
URI : http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/004882ar
DOI : 10.7202/004882ar

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