Abstract

Thirteen quantitative and two qualitative variables were measured for 53 cirques and their respective valleys in the Front and Main Ranges of the southern part of Banff National Park, Alberta. Each cirque and valley showed good evidence for a Late Wisconsin advance that never extended into major trunk valleys.The question being asked was: Can the maximum extent of this relatively minor advance be predicted by measuring the physical parameters of the cirque? The following equation can predict the maximum ice extent with a standard error of ±808 ft (±246.4 m): Y = 1012.8801X6 + 0.8552X3 + 2.6836X1 − 7763.6370, where Y is the maximum ice extent in ft; X6, X3, and X1 are the area (ft2), elevation (in ft), and the east–west location of the cirque respectively. However, only 64.48% of the variance of the ice extent is explained by this equation.It is suggested that the 35.52% unexplained variance is due to climatic variables, particularly those on the meso-scale, in the cirque at the time of the advance. It is possible these variables may be reflected in the degree of frost shattering of the joint and fracturing systems on the cirque headwall.It appears unlikely that a similar method could be applied to more extensive advances or glaciations because of the difficulty in obtaining precise data. However, as a method of examining a landform, similar studies will undoubtedly be extremely useful.

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