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Itkillik Glaciation in the Brooks Range, Northern Alaska

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Thomas D. Hamilton*
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Stephen C. Porter
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 USA
*
1Present address: Branch of Alaskan Geology, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, Calif. 94025.

Abstract

During the Itkillik Glaciation the Brooks Range supported an extensive mountain-glacier complex that extended for 750 km between 141° and 158°W longitude. Individual ice streams and piedmont lobes flowed as much as 50 km beyond the north and south margins of the range. Glaciers in the southern Brooks Range were longer than those farther north because of a southerly precipitation source, whereas those in the central and eastern part of the range were larger than glaciers at the extremities of the mountain system because of higher and more-extensive accumulation areas. Glacier equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) at the time of greatest advance were depressed 600 ± 100 m below present levels, whereas during a less-extensive late-glacial readvance (Alapah Mountain) ELA depression was about 300 ± 30 m. Radiocarbon dates indicate that Itkillik drift correlates with Late Wisconsin drift along the southern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and with drift of Cordilleran glaciers in southern Alaska and the western conterminous United States deposited during the last glaciation. Itkillik I moraines represent the maximum ice advance under cold full-glacial conditions between about 24,000 and 17,000 14C y. a. Itkillik II sediments, probably deposited close to 14,000 y. a., are characterized by abundant outwash and ice-contact stratified drift implying a milder climate than that of the Itkillik I phase. Alapah Mountain moraines at the heads of valleys draining high-altitude (≥1800 m) source areas record a possible late Itkillik readvance that is not yet closely dated. Itkillik glaciers may have largely disappeared from Brooks Range valleys by the beginning of the Holocene.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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