Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Geology

Advisor/Chair:

Tammy M. Rittenour

Abstract

This thesis investigated marine isotope stage {MIS) 3-2 glacial sequences in the South Fork Hoh River Valley, Washington and the Lake Hawea Valley, New Zealand. Research objectives were to reconstruct the style and timing of ice advance in both areas and to assess the viability of luminescence dating of glacial sediments in various depositional facies and distances from the ice front. This thesis focused on the sedimentology and stratigraphy of surficial and older glacial sequences in the South Fork Hoh and Lake Hawea areas and used OSL and radiocarbon dating techniques to establish age control for the deposits. Specifically, this research identified, described, and dated the stratigraphy of glacial sequences in order to reconstruct ice dynamics. This work also presents updated geomorphic maps for both study areas as an additional way to show ice advance and retreat events recorded in deposited sediment and geomorphic surfaces. The glacial sequence expressed in the Lake Hawea moraine exposure shows four distinct depositional events that represent retreat from an ice position down -valley, re-advance to the Hawea moraine position, and subsequent retreat and deglaciation broadly spanning -32-18 ka. These results document the terminal glacial advance and subsequent retreat in the Lake Hawea Valley and contribute to the wider swath of research studying the last phase of glacial retreat and its connections to climate on the South Island of New Zealand. The Hawea chronology corresponds to other glacial records and paleoclimate reconstructions from the South Island that collectively suggest the commencement of deglaciation at -13 ka. Three late Pleistocene ice positions are preserved in the South Fork Hoh River Valley, here referred to as South Fork 1-3 (SF 1-3). One of these positions has not previously been recognized in this valley or in the mainstem Hoh River Valley. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and radiocarbon (14C) ages are generally consistent throughout the valley. These finding s advocate for a detailed sedimentologic and stratigraphic approach to glacial depos its and questions whether a similar advance or still -stand occurred in other valleys in the region. If so, this may reveal information regarding climate influences on MIS 2 glaciers in the Olympic Mountains. This research also assesses the applicability of OSL dating to glacial deposits in both field areas. Quartz OSL dating was used in the South Fork Hoh study area; however, quartz produced unreliable results in the Hawea study area, so samples were therefore assessed using feldspar methods. The results advocate for a facies-based sampling approach in glacial settings, where better sorted sandy facies and more distal deposits produce better bleached and more reliable age results than other deposits.

Included in

Geology Commons

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