Between the Klondike Plateau and Yukon–Tanana highlands of Yukon and Alaska, respectively, current maps explain glaciated alpine locales and periglacial areas in terms of localized Pliocene–Pleistocene montane ice caps, alpine glaciers, and periglacial changes. However, this region’s plateau topography is populated with long undulating ridges having wide flattened tops; it contrasts with relief of other regions of northwestern North America also affected by ice caps, cryoplanation, and erosion over similar duration during the same epochs. This region has received minimal research and appears to present a new opportunity for resolving outstanding glaciological and stratigraphy issues. The glaciological history is reviewed, placing particular emphasis upon the low-elevation ridges within the “unglaciated” region, suggesting that those ridges are relict arête/cirque remnants. Sites of subalpine glacial grooving and mountaintop planing are also identified, and a conglomeratic red bed containing erratic clasts is described. All indications point to the “unglaciated” region having been glaciated before late Pliocene. Two working hypotheses are proposed: (1) The landscape once supported a range of young mountains that became glaciated then overridden and pared to a plateau by an ice sheet. (2) Following deglaciation, an extended period of paraglacial activity removed most of the former drift and excised new valleys to give the region an unglaciated appearance, which thereafter became modified into its present state by local montane/alpine glaciations, interglacial cryoplanation, periglacial gelifraction, and erosion. In addition to Pliocene–Pleistocene glaciations, a northeastward advancing Miocene ice sheet seems plausible and, on the basis of paleographic considerations and lithology, a Cretaceous glaciation evidently is also not out of the question.
Research Article| August 08, 2019
Evidence for early glaciation of southeastern Beringia
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Rodney Arthur Savidge; Evidence for early glaciation of southeastern Beringia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 57 (2): 199–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2019-0048
Download citation file: