Abstract

Six geologic-climate units are proposed for the late Pleistocene sequence in southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington. They include two major units, the Olympia Interglaciation and the Fraser Glaciation, and four subdivisions of the latter—the Evans Creek, Vashon, and Sumas Stades, and the Everson Interstade. The Olympia Interglaciation is a nonglacial episode that started at least 36,000 years B.P. and continued until the advance of Cordilleran glacier ice during the Fraser Glaciation. During the Evans Creek Stade, alpine glaciers formed in the mountains of western Washington and British Columbia while nonglacial sediments were still being deposited in the southern Puget Lowland. Further growth of glaciers in British Columbia resulted in the formation of the Cordilleran ice sheet. This ice entered the northern end of the area after 25,000 years B.P. but did not reach the southern end until after 15,000 years B.P. The Vashon Stade of the Fraser Glaciation began with this advance of Cordilleran ice into the lowlands. It ended with the beginning of marine and glaciomarine conditions there, which commenced in the southern Puget Lowland about 13,500 years B.P. and in the Strait of Georgia about 13,000 years B.P. The episode represented by the marine conditions is called the Everson Interstade and lasted about 2000 years, during which the sea contained much floating ice. The Interstade ended when the land rose with respect to the sea level forcing withdrawal of the sea and the disappearance of floating ice in most of northwestern Washington and southwestern British Columbia; in the eastern part of the Fraser Lowland this event coincided with the advance of a valley glacier during the Sumas Stade.

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