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Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536
Textbook Problem

What are some types of geomorphic evidence in the landscape today that illustrate the extent of continental glaciers during the Pleistocene?

To determine

Some types of geomorphic evidence in the landscape today that illustrate the extent of continental glaciers during the Pleistocene.

Explanation

The geographic evidence illustrated by the extent of continental glaciers during the Pleistocene epoch is visible in the erosional and deposition features of continental glaciers.

Erosional landforms of Continental Glaciation:

Erosional landforms created by ice sheets stretch over millions of square kilometers of North America, Scandinavia, and Russia. As the enormous ice sheets flowed over the land, gouged striations on the Earth’s surface, enlarged the preexisting valleys, scoured out rock basins, and smoothed off existing hills. It removed most of the soil and eroded the bedrock beneath. “The ice-scoured plains are areas of low, round hills, lake-filled depressions, and wide exposures of bedrock”. These ice-scoured plains are characterized by lakes, marshes, and muskeg (poorly drained areas grown over with vegetation that forms in cold climates).

Depositional Landforms of Continental Glaciation:

Moraines and Plains:

Terminal and recessional end moraines: The Pleistocene ice sheets deposited terminal and recessional end moraines that range up to about 60 meters (200 ft) in height, form significant belts of low hills and ridges in areas affected by continental glaciation. Terminal moraine is a ridge composed of till that marks the maximum limit of glacier advance. A recessional moraine is formed behind the terminal moraine as the glacier recedes. It marks the positions where the ice front had temporarily stabilized during the final glacial retreat. Both recessional and terminal end moraines have arc-shaped and curved toward the flow direction. In map view, moraines provide evidence of ice flow direction; internal sediment characteristics help us detect the sequence of glacial advances and retreats.

Example: The last major Pleistocene glacial advance left its terminal moraine through New England running the length of New York’s Long Island and produced the offshore islands of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and Martha’s Vineyard. Glacial retreat left its recessional moraines that formed both Cape Cod and the rounded southern end of Lake Michigan.

Till plain: At the end of the glacial interval, continental glaciers leave their huge load of poorly sorted till, thickly scattered in a place over the landscape called as a till plain. With respect to the uneven deposition, the till is too thin in some places whereas, in other places, thick deposits of till make broad, rolling plains of low relief. Till plains are characterized by small hills and shallow depressions, some filled with water, mirroring the uneven glacial deposition. Examples of this glacial landform are the gently rolling till plains of Illinois and Iowa.

Outwash plains: They are relatively low relief extensive areas consisting of sorted glaciofluvial deposits as they were transported by meltwater from the ice sheets...

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