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Deglaciation and late-glacial climate change in the White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA

  • Woodrow B. Thompson (a1), Christopher C. Dorion (a2), John C. Ridge (a3), Greg Balco (a4), Brian K. Fowler (a5) and Kristen M. Svendsen (a6)...
Abstract

Recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from northern New Hampshire was interrupted by the Littleton-Bethlehem (L-B) readvance and deposition of the extensive White Mountain Moraine System (WMMS). Our mapping of this moraine belt and related glacial lake sequence has refined the deglaciation history of the region. The age of the western part of the WMMS is constrained to ~14.0–13.8 cal ka BP by glacial Lake Hitchcock varves that occur beneath and above L-B readvance till and were matched to a revised calibration of the North American Varve Chronology presented here. Using this age for when boulders were deposited on the moraines has enabled calibration of regional cosmogenic-nuclide production rates to improve the precision of exposure dating in New England. The L-B readvance coincided with the Older Dryas (OD) cooling documented by workers in Europe and the equivalent GI-1d cooling event in the Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005 (GICC05) time scale. The readvance and associated moraines provide the first well-documented and dated evidence of the OD event in the northeastern United States. Our lake sediment cores show that the Younger Dryas cooling was likewise prominent in the White Mountains, thus extending the record of this event westward from Maine and Maritime Canada.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author at: Maine Geological Survey (retired), 171 Lord Road, Wayne, ME 04284, United States. E-mail address: iceagemaine@myfairpoint.net (W.B. Thompson).
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