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The glacial/deglacial history of sedimentation in Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho

Joseph G. Rosenbaum and Clifford W. Heil
The glacial/deglacial history of sedimentation in Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho (in Paleoenvironments of Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho, and its catchment, Joseph G. Rosenbaum (editor) and Darrell S. Kaufman (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2009) 450: 247-261


Bear Lake, in northeastern Utah and southern Idaho, lies in a large valley formed by an active half-graben. Bear River, the largest river in the Great Basin, enters Bear Lake Valley approximately 15 km north of the lake. Two 4-m-long cores provide a lake sediment record extending back approximately 26 cal k.y. The penetrated section can be divided into a lower unit composed of quartz-rich clastic sediments and an upper unit composed largely of endogenic carbonate. Data from modern fluvial sediments provide the basis for interpreting changes in provenance of detrital material in the lake cores. Sediments from small streams draining elevated topography on the east and west sides of the lake are characterized by abundant dolomite, high magnetic susceptibility (MS) related to eolian magnetite, and low values of hard isothermal remanent magnetization (HIRM, indicative of hematite content). In contrast, sediments from the headwaters of the Bear River in the Uinta Mountains lack carbonate and have high HIRM and low MS. Sediments from lower reaches of the Bear River contain calcite but little dolomite and have low values of MS and HIRM. These contrasts in catchment properties allow interpretation of the following sequence from variations in properties of the lake sediment: (1) ca. 26 cal ka--onset of glaciation; (2) ca. 26-20 cal ka--quasicyclical, millennial-scale variations in the concentrations of hematite-rich glacial flour derived from the Uinta Mountains, and dolomite- and magnetite-rich material derived from the local Bear Lake catchment (reflecting variations in glacial extent); (3) ca. 20-19 cal ka--maximum content of glacial flour; (4) ca. 19-17 cal ka--constant content of Bear River sediment but declining content of glacial flour from the Uinta Mountains; (5) ca. 17-15.5 cal ka--decline in Bear River sediment and increase in content of sediment from the local catchment; and (6) ca. 15.5-14.5 cal ka--increase in content of endogenic calcite at the expense of detrital material. The onset of glaciation indicated in the Bear Lake record postdates the initial rise of Lake Bonneville and roughly corresponds to the Stansbury shoreline. The lake record indicates that maximum glaciation occurred as Lake Bonneville reached its maximum extent ca. 20 cal ka and that deglaciation was under way while Lake Bonneville remained at its peak. The transition from siliciclastic to carbonate sedimentation probably indicates increasingly evaporative conditions and may coincide with the climatically driven fall of Lake Bonneville from the Provo shoreline. Although lake levels fluctuated during the Younger Dryas, the Bear Lake record for this period is more consistent with drier conditions, rather than cooler, moister conditions interpreted from many studies from western North America.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 450
Title: The glacial/deglacial history of sedimentation in Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho
Title: Paleoenvironments of Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho, and its catchment
Author(s): Rosenbaum, Joseph G.Heil, Clifford W., Jr.
Author(s): Rosenbaum, Joseph G.editor
Author(s): Kaufman, Darrell S.editor
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, United States
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, United States
Pages: 247-261
Published: 2009
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 46
Accession Number: 2010-045051
Categories: Quaternary geologySedimentary petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch maps
N41°49'60" - N42°07'60", W111°25'00" - W111°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Northern Arizona University, USA, United StatesUniversity of Rhode Island, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201025
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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