Glacial deposits in the southwestern Ahklun Mountains, southwestern Alaska, record two major glacier advances during the late Pleistocene. The Arolik Lake and Klak Creek glaciations took place during the early and late Wisconsin, respectively. During the Arolik Lake glaciation, outlet glaciers emanated from an ice cap centered over the central portion of the Ahklun Mountains and expanded beyond the present coast. During the Klak Creek glaciation, ice-cap outlet glaciers terminated ~60 km upvalley from Arolik Lake moraines. The area also supported numerous alpine glaciers that expanded from small massifs. During both episodes of glaciation, these alpine glaciers apparently reached their maximum positions sometime after the retreat of the ice-cap outlet glaciers. Equilibrium-line altitudes for reconstructed alpine glaciers of the Klak Creek glaciation average ~390 ± 100 m elevation in the western Ahklun Mountains, which is at most 500 m, and possibly only 200 m, below the estimated modern equilibrium-line altitude. The maximum late Pleistocene advance in the southwestern Ahklun Mountains occurred during the early Wisconsin, similar to advances elsewhere in western Alaska, but in contrast to the isotopic signal in the deep-sea record of global ice volume. The restricted extent of Klak Creek glaciers might reflect the increased distance to the Bering Sea resulting from eustatic sea-level regression and decreased evaporation resulting from lower sea-surface temperatures and increased sea-ice extent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)