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Lively landscapes: Major Holocene geomorphic events in the Nooksack–Sumas Valley

By
Scott Linneman
Scott Linneman
Geology Department, Western Washington University
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Paul Pittman
Paul Pittman
Whatcom County Public Works
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Laura Vaugeois
Laura Vaugeois
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

The Nooksack River Basin is situated in the steep western slopes of the North Cascade Mountains and low glacial plains of northwest Washington State. The basin drains west from the north and west sides of volcanically active Mount Baker and meets the sea at Bellingham Bay near the southern end of the Strait of Georgia. The dramatic topographic relief of the region is the result of tectonic activity along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Pleistocene continental and alpine glaciations sculpted and scoured the region, modifying topography and mantling many areas with deposits of tills, outwash and glaciomarine drift.

The Holocene saw the retreat of glaciers, rebounding of land, and the peopling of North America with indigenous cultures and then with Euro-American settlement. The Nooksack Basin has had a long history of cultural occupation as it provided both a transportation corridor and a prolific resource area. Although geomorphologically quiescent since Euro-American settlement, the landscape of the Nooksack Valley has experienced numerous landscape-altering events during the Holocene that very likely impacted, if not dramatically altered, the cultures that were present there. The purpose of this field trip is to show evidence for some Holocene geologic events and to contemplate human culture amidst this lively landscape.

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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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