Abstract

Radiocarbon dates from the Lituya District of southeast Alaska indicate the occurrence of at least four glacial periods during the past 10 000 years. Further detail is added to the record by a relative-age chronology for moraines based on cross-cutting relationships, as well as soil, vegetation, and boulder weathering characteristics. The most recent deglaciation occurred approximately 350–500 years BP, ending advances begun shortly after 1500 years BP. The relative-age chronology for moraines indicates that at least three episodes of moraine building occurred during this period. Dates on logs in outwash and organic deposits in a moraine pond indicate glacial recession 1500–1900 years BP. This recession was preceded by advances beginning sometime after 3600 years BP and including several periods of moraine construction. Radiocarbon-dated basal organics in moraine ponds, buried soils, and overridden forest beds delimit a mid-Holocene advance ending before 5000 years BP and probably starting around 6000 years BP. Another advance probably occurred between 7400 and 9000 years BP; alternatively, it may have been earlier, but after 11 000 years BP. Regional comparisons are limited by the shortage of, and innate problems with, the glacial records, but do suggest that mid- and early Holocene advances were widespread in the southern Alaska region.

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