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Using GIS to estimate the age of paleo-glaciers. (Senior Division).

This project is an ongoing effort to develop a new technique to determine the age of paleo-glaciers using GIS (geographic information system) techniques. Currently, the only way to measure the age of paleo-glaciers involves extensive field observations and radioactive dating which is costly and time consuming. The goal of this project was to design an alternate, lower-cost approach based upon aerial photography that dates paleo-glaciers by evaluating subtle erosional characteristics of moraines left by retreating glaciers. The study focused upon twelve moraines surrounding Fremont Lake (at the base Wind River Range near Pinedale, Wyoming). These moraines were deposited during the Bull Lake and Pinedale glaciations (about 130,000 and 10,000 years ago respectively). Ten- meter DEM (digital elevation model) data was combined with a digitized form of Richmond's (1987) map of Fremont Lake area moraines. Two raster-based GIS programs, MFWorks and ,ArcInfo were used to examine topographic characteristics of each moraine including slope angle, terrain roughness, development of drainage systems, aspect deviation, number of kettles and curvature to determine whether observed characteristics were correlated with the known age of the moraines. Kettles, curvature, and drainage system characteristics were found to have good correlation with moraine age.

Evan W Burgess, Fairview High School.
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Author:Burgess, Evan W
Publication:Journal of the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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