LATERAL RECESSIONAL MORAINES IN THE GREEN MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN VERMONT
The most reasonable interpretation of these landforms is that they are push moraines produced along the margin of the retreating Laurentide Ice Sheet. Specifically, the process responsible for this step-like topography is the winter advance/thickening of the ice sheet margin pushing/bulldozing till exposed during the previous summer’s retreat. Net retreat/thinning during the following summer sets up the ice sheet margin to form another push moraine during the following winter downslope of the previously formed moraine. While this interpretation implies that these moraines are annual, it’s possible that no discernible moraines form if the ice margin is at a standstill during a warm winter or that moraines produced during different years cannot be distinguished if the ice sheet margin advances/thickens to the same position during two or more consecutive winters. If these are annual recessional moraines, the ice sheet was thinning between 9 and 23 m/a., i.e. the 1,000 m relief of the mountain range was deglaciated within 43 to 111 years. This is consistent with the rapid ice sheet thinning inferred from identical exposure age dates of 13.9 +/- 0.6 ka across a 800 m elevation range on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in the northern Green Mountains.