Abstract

The lower Chippewa Valley in west-central Wisconsin extends 65 miles from the Cary terminal moraine in Chippewa County to the Mississippi River Valley. The Chippewa Valley and its tributaries were filled with a valley train of sand and gravel during the maximum stand of the Cary ice, and entrenchment of this deposit has formed the Wissota terrace, a prominent geomorphic feature that can be traced the length of the valley. Several lower terraces in the valley indicate progressive downcutting of the Wissota terrace sediments. Erosion and deposition in the Mississippi Valley are closely linked to the post-Cary history of the lower Chippewa Valley, for these factors controlled the outlet level of the Chippewa River. This outlet was substantially lower than at present throughout much of post-Cary Pleistocene and early Recent time. The modern Chippewa River has built a delta into the Mississippi Valley. The Chippewa River is aggrading the lower part of its valley, a meandering river is slowly eroding the central part; stream erosion in the upper part is restricted by sills of hard bedrock.

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