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Book Chapter

New developments in Late Pleistocene and Holocene glaciation and volcanism in the Fraser Lowland and North Cascades, Washington

By
D.J. Easterbrook
D.J. Easterbrook
Department of Geology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, Washington 98225, USA
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D.J. Kovanen
D.J. Kovanen
Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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O. Slaymaker
O. Slaymaker
Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

As the Vashon glacier retreated from its terminal position in the southern Puget-Lowland and thinned rapidly, marine waters invaded the central and northern lowland, floating the ice and depositing Everson glaciomarine drift over a wide area from southern Whidbey Island to southern British Columbia. The Everson deposits are characterized by vast areas of massive, poorly sorted stony silt and clay commonly containing marine shells. At Bellingham Bay and elsewhere in the Fraser Lowland, Deming sand is overlain by massive, poorly sorted, Bellingham glaciomarine drift to elevations of 180–210 m above present sea level and is underlain by Kulshan glaciomarine drift.

Following deposition of the Everson glaciomarine drift, ice readvanced into northern Washington and deposited Sumas Drift and meltwater channels were incised into the glaciomarine deposits. Four moraine-building phases are recognized in the Sumas, the last two in the Younger Dryas.

Rapid deglaciation between 14,500 and 12,500 14C yr B.P. resulted in lowering of the surface the Cordilleran Ice Sheet below ridge crests in the Nooksack drainage and glacial activity thereafter became topographically controlled. Local valley glaciers in the upper Nooksack Valley were fed by alpine glaciers on Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the Twin Sisters Range that were no longer connected to the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Remnants of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet persisted in the Fraser Lowland at that time but were separated from the Nooksack Valley glaciers by several ridges 1200 m higher than the surface of the ice sheet. Alpine glaciers deposited drift in the Middle and North forks of the Nooksack drainage 25–45 km down-valley from their sources.

Large mega-landslides in the Nooksack drainage are associated with an area of unusually high seismic activity, whereas nearby areas having the same geology, topography, climate, and vegetation have no such mega-landslides, suggesting that the landslides are seismically induced.

Five Holocene tephras have been recognized in the region around Mount Baker–Schreibers Meadow scoria, Mazama ash, Rocky Creek ash, Cathedral Crag ash, and the 1843 tephra.

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Contents

GSA Field Guide

Floods, Faults, and Fire

Pete Stelling
Pete Stelling
Geology Department Western Washington University 516 High St., MS 9080 Bellingham, Washington 98225 USA
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David S. Tucker
David S. Tucker
Geology Department Western Washington University 516 High St., MS 9080 Bellingham, Washington 98225 USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
9
ISBN electronic:
9780813756097
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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