Abstract

Late Wisconsinan end moraines on Cape Cod and islands south and west of Cape Cod are believed to be glaciotectonic features formed by advancing ice fronts. Evidence of a glaciotectonic origin includes the stratified drift composition of the moraines, dislocated preglacial and glaciolacustrine deposits, tilted preglacial and glacial beds, folding and thrust faulting, and morphologic similarity to ancient and modern glaciotectonic moraines. Evidence for major ice readvances during over-all general recession includes the moraines themselves, till atop stratified drift, and the numerous basal tills that are inferred to exist beneath Cape Cod Bay.

The Thompson Glacier end moraine in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago is considered to be a modern example of how late Wisconsinan end moraines on Cape Cod and the islands were formed. The Thompson Glacier is overriding its outwash plain, displacing outwash deposits forward and upward beyond the ice front. New sheets are added to the base of the moraine, and till is deposited atop the moraine as the ice overrides it.

Evidence from Cape Cod and the nearby islands indicates that over-all recession of late Wisconsinan ice was characterized by alternating episodes of ice-front retreat, during which the outwash plains were formed, and of ice-front advance, during which the moraines were built. Retreat of the ice from Cape Cod and the islands may have been similar to the retreat of the Lake Michigan lobe, deposits of which contain evidence of at least 12 moraine-building episodes caused by readvancing ice during the over-all retreat of the late Wisconsinan ice sheet.

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