Last glacial maximum climate inferences from cosmogenic dating and glacier modeling of the western Uinta ice field, Uinta Mountains, Utah

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Quaternary Research 69,1 (2008) 130-144;


During the last glacial maximum (LGM), the western Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah were occupied by the Western Uinta Ice Field. Cosmogenic Be-10 surface-exposure ages from the terminal moraine in the North Fork Provo Valley and paired Al-26 and Be-10 ages from striated bedrock at Bald Mountain Pass set limits on the timing of the local LGM. Moraine boulder ages suggest that ice reached its maximum extent by 17.4 +/- 0.5 ka (+/- 2 sigma). Be-10 and Al-26 measurements on striated bedrock from Bald Mountain Pass, situated near the former center of the ice field, yield a mean Al-26/Be-10 ratio of 5.7 +/- 0.8 and a mean exposure age of 14.0 +/- 0.5 ka, which places a minimum-limiting age on when the ice field melted completely. We also applied a mass/energy-balance and ice-flow model to investigate the LGM climate of the western Uinta Mountains. Results suggest that temperatures were likely 5 to 7 degrees C cooler than present and precipitation was 2 to 3.5 times greater than modern, and the western-most glaciers in the range generally received more precipitation when expanding to their maximum extent than glaciers farther east. This scenario is consistent with the hypothesis that precipitation in the western Uintas was enhanced by pluvial Lake Bonneville during the last glaciation. (C) 2007 University of Washington. All rights reserved.


Uinta Mountains;; last glacial maximum;; cosmogenic nuclide;; CRN;; glacier;; modeling;; ice field;; Lake Bonneville;; glacial geology;; paleoclimate;; Geography, Physical;; Geosciences, Multidisciplinary

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