Event Title

Pleistocene Glaciation and Climate of the Boulder Mountains, Western Montana

Location

CSU Ballroom

Start Date

9-4-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

9-4-2012 11:30 AM

Student's Major

Chemistry and Geology

Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Mentor's Name

Chad Wittkop

Mentor's Department

Chemistry and Geology

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Description

An area of transition between mountain and continental glaciation in the western United States lies near the Boulder Mountains of Montana. A relatively low altitude ice mass called the Boulder Mountain ice cap, or BMIC, developed in the Boulder Mountains during the last glacial maximum, or LGM, in the Pleistocene Epoch about 17,000 year ago. The development of the BMIC has not been studied in this area since initial descriptions by Ruppel (1962), and limited new mapping by my mentor.

Using Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, I have digitized Ruppel’s maps and portions of other maps. The digitized data were updated by field checking the pre-existing data and new mapping in areas of incomplete data. Mapping was carried out in the difficult terrain with the use of GPS units, topographic maps, and digitized versions of Ruppel’s map. In several areas ice boundaries were checked by identifying presence of glacial features including glacial sediment and debris at ice boundaries and striations on bedrock indicating ice movement. Upon returning from the field, the data underwent GIS analysis and spreadsheet modeling in collaboration with Ryan Bleess. These results helped determine a more accurate area and thickness of the BMIC.

Results were then used to compute the equilibrium line altitudes, or ELAs, of the BMIC. Above the ELA the glacier is resistant to melting in all seasons. Our study determined lower ELA’s than those previously calculated in the area around the BMIC, suggesting a colder climate in this area during the LGM.

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Apr 9th, 10:00 AM Apr 9th, 11:30 AM

Pleistocene Glaciation and Climate of the Boulder Mountains, Western Montana

CSU Ballroom

An area of transition between mountain and continental glaciation in the western United States lies near the Boulder Mountains of Montana. A relatively low altitude ice mass called the Boulder Mountain ice cap, or BMIC, developed in the Boulder Mountains during the last glacial maximum, or LGM, in the Pleistocene Epoch about 17,000 year ago. The development of the BMIC has not been studied in this area since initial descriptions by Ruppel (1962), and limited new mapping by my mentor.

Using Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, I have digitized Ruppel’s maps and portions of other maps. The digitized data were updated by field checking the pre-existing data and new mapping in areas of incomplete data. Mapping was carried out in the difficult terrain with the use of GPS units, topographic maps, and digitized versions of Ruppel’s map. In several areas ice boundaries were checked by identifying presence of glacial features including glacial sediment and debris at ice boundaries and striations on bedrock indicating ice movement. Upon returning from the field, the data underwent GIS analysis and spreadsheet modeling in collaboration with Ryan Bleess. These results helped determine a more accurate area and thickness of the BMIC.

Results were then used to compute the equilibrium line altitudes, or ELAs, of the BMIC. Above the ELA the glacier is resistant to melting in all seasons. Our study determined lower ELA’s than those previously calculated in the area around the BMIC, suggesting a colder climate in this area during the LGM.

Recommended Citation

German, Questor. "Pleistocene Glaciation and Climate of the Boulder Mountains, Western Montana." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 9, 2012.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2012/poster-session-A/43