Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2015)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


OAKLEY, Bryan A., Environmental Earth Science Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windam St, Willimantic, CT 06226 and BOOTHROYD, Jon C., Rhode Island Geological Survey, Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island, 317 Woodward Hall, 9 East Alumni Avenue, Kingston, RI 02881,

The volume of stratified sediment (deltas, lakefloor, and lacustrine fans) deposited in Glacial Lake Narragansett (GLN) during Late Wisconsinan deglaciation calculated using seismic reflection profiles, published Quaternary geologic maps and borehole records exceeds 8.7 x 109 m3. Individual deltas quantified ranged from very small ice marginal deltas (3 x 106 m3) to larger, well-developed delta systems (1.3 x 109 m3). The volume of lakefloor sediment (varves) calculated using seismic reflection profiles (3.5 x 109 m3) is a significant underestimation, as natural gas obscured the seismic record in some areas of the Bay, and some smaller ice-marginal stratified deposits without boreholes were not included in the calculations. The total volume of stratified deposits calculated (8.7 x 109 m3) should be viewed as an extremely conservative estimate; the actual volume of stratified deposits almost certainly exceeds 10 x 109 m3.

This volume of stratified deposits requires excavation of sediment or bedrock erosion >7.5 m . m-2 over the entire 1,200 km2 study area. This is more erosion than the limited bedrock exposure ages suggest occurred near the terminal margin during the Late Wisconsinan. If bedrock erosion and/or mobilization of subglacial till did not contribute all of the sediment, then either; a) a significant volume of sediment was transported from outside the local region or b) older glacial deposits provided a source for Late Wisconsinan deglacial deposits. Older deposits could include either Illinoian deglacial deposits or sediment deposited during the Late Wisconsinan advance of the ice sheet. We envision a model where some older deposits survived the advance of the ice sheet. These deposits would have been remobilized during deglaciation providing a supplemental sediment source, to bedrock erosion and subglacial till. This implies, that at least near the terminal margin in southern New England, removal of older deposits and erosion down to bedrock during the Late Wisconsinan advance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet was likely not as complete as often portrayed.

  • 2-6 Oakley.pdf (9.7 MB)