Geography Research Seminar: Prof. Glenn D. Thackray (Idaho State University), Extensive glaciation preceding the "last glacial maximum" in coastal mountains of the northwestern United States
Maximum ice extent across many areas of the European and North American continental ice sheets dates to roughly 20,000 yr BP (the “last glacial maximum”), but mountain glaciers and ice caps demonstrate marked variability in the timing of major ice advances. The Olympic Mountains are a case in point, having produced the most detailed known record of mountain glaciation in western North America through radiocarbon and luminescence dating of glacial sediments and landforms. At least eight glacier fluctuations occurred between 110,000 and 15,000 yr BP, with the major advances preceding the “last glacial maximum”. Fossil pollen and beetle records indicate that maximum ice extent coincided with cool periods of sustained precipitation, revealing oceanic and continental modifications of the climate system through the last glacial cycle.
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