The spatial and temporal patterns of growth and decay of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) and subsequent lobes of glacial ice is a topic of interest in New York and the Great Lakes region. While scientists know the area has been glaciated repeatedly, the location and timing of ice margins remains poorly constrained in most areas of New York. Understanding where glacial margins were at specific times is important because glacial margins can restrict and block drainage and form large proglacial lake systems. Climate modelers using computers to model ancient climate in order to study climate change need accurate data in order to constrain the extent of former ice sheets in their models. Here in New York we have been mapping the surficial geology produced by glaciers, using high resolution LiDAR imagery to identify glacial landforms and drilling and coring basins and traps in an attempt to decipher when ice margins were being built by glaciers. When we are fairly certain that we have identified a basin or sedimentary trap adjacent to a former ice margin (moraine) that has a direct association, we will drill and core these basins with the hope of recovering organic materials (plant fossils, wood) preserved in the sediment. Using radiocarbon dating on these materials we can assign an age to the ice margin and thus estimate when the glacier margin was present at a particular location.
Ice Margin Chronology
Kozlowski, A.L.; Graham, B.L. (Eds), June 2014, Glacial Geology of Cayuga County of the Eastern Finger Lakes: Lakes, Lore and Landforms; Guidebook for the 77th annual Reunion of the Northeastern Friends of the Pleistocene Meeting, Auburn , NY 140 pp.
Kehew, Alan. E.; Kozlowski, A.L.; Brian C. Bird; Esch, J. M., May 2013, Contrasting Terrains of the Lake Michigan and Saginaw Lobes of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in southern Michigan. In Gillespie, Robert (ed.) Insights into the Michigan Basin: Salt deposits, Impact structure, Youngest Basin Bedrock, Glacial Geomorphology, Dune Complexes, and Coastal Bluff Stability. Geological Society of America Field Trip Guide 31 pp15-36,
Kehew, Alan. E., Esch, J. M., Kozlowski, A. L. and Ewald, S. K. 2011, Glacial landsystems and dynamics of the Saginaw Lobe of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, Michigan , USA, Quaternary International, Vol. 24, no. 22, pp.1-11