Holocene Glaciation of the Southern Kenai Mountains, Alaska
Parker Calkin Principal Investigator
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This research will investigate the patterns and timing of latest Pleistocene deglaciation and particularly of Holocene climatic change as recorded in fluctuations of glaciers on the Kenai Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Work will focus in the landfast glaciers, which here lack evidence of irregular flow and which may be expected to have experienced cycles of advance and retreat similar to those that are widely recorded in Alaska, but with variations reflecting individual aspect, position and hypsometry. Calving outlet glaciers in the Kenai Fjords National Park, by contrast, have displayed prolonged advanced followed by dramatic retreat in cycles dominated by such factors as fjords depth and configuration, water circulation, and ice-marginal sediment accumulation. Evaluation of moraine modification as well as the methods of radiocarbon dating, tephrochronology, lichenomentry and dendrochronology, will be critically applied in building the glacial chronology. Because most of the ice tongues end in forested areas, tree-ring dating of surfaces and selective cross-dating of living trees with buried wood may be a particularly powerful dating tool.