Abstract

Sequences of pre-Wisconsinan till and intercalated paleosols were sampled for paleomagnetic study. The tills were deposited during successive glaciations and the paleosols formed during interglacial intervals. Paleoargillic horizons of the paleosols and the carbonate cement (calcrete) found in some till–paleosol units generally yielded excellent data. Magnetizations of paleosols probably were acquired during the formation of the paleosols rather than during initial deposition of the tills in which they were developed. At Mokowan Butte (Alberta), the lowest paleosol has normal polarity, two of the middle tills have reversed polarity, and the uppermost till–paleosol unit has normal polarity. At Saint Mary Ridge (Montana), three of the lower tills have reversed polarity, and the upper two till–paleosol units have normal polarity. At Two Medicine Ridge (Montana), the lowest three tills are reversed, but the paleoargillic horizon on the uppermost (fourth) till is normal. Magnetostratigraphic correlation indicates that at least six glacial and six interglacial episodes are represented in the Kennedy Drift. The upper normal polarity units are interpreted as having been developed during the Brunhes Normal Chron, the underlying reversed polarity sediments during the Matuyama Reversed Chron, and the lowest normal polarity unit at Mokowan Butte during the Gauss Normal Chron. The oldest glaciations here extend into the Pliocene (2600 ka), making these sediments among the oldest glacial deposits in North America. Alternatively, the lowest normally magnetized paleosol at Mokowan Butte may have formed during either the Jaramillo or the Olduvai subchrons, although this is considered less likely.

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