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Publication Title

Developments in Quaternary Sciences



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Issue Number

Part B

Volume Number

Volume 2

Abstract/ Summary

The glacial geology of Maine records the northward recession of the Late Wisconsinan Laurentide Ice Sheet, followed by development of a residual ice cap in the Maine-Québec border region due to marine transgression of the St. Lawrence Lowland in Canada. The pattern of deglaciation across southern Maine has been reconstructed from numerous end moraines, deltas and submarine fans deposited during marine transgression of the coastal lowland. Inland from the marine limit, a less-detailed sequence of deglaciation is recorded by striation patterns, meltwater channels, scattered moraines and waterlain deposits that constrain the trend of the ice margin. There is no evidence that the northern Maine ice cap extended as far south-west as the Boundary Mountains and New Hampshire border.

Newly-obtained radiocarbon ages from marine and terrestrial ice-proximal environments have improved the chronology of glacial recession in Maine. Many of these ages were obtained by coring late-glacial sediments beneath ponds and lakes. Data from this study show that the state was deglaciated between about 14.5 and 11.0 ka BP (14C years). The coastal moraine belt in southern Maine was deposited by oscillatory ice-margin retreat during the cold pre-Bølling time. Rapid ice recession to northern Maine then occurred between 13 and 11 ka BP, during the warmer Bølling/Allerød chronozones. Radiocarbon-dated pond sediments in western and northern Maine show lithologic evidence of Younger Dryas climatic cooling and persistence of the northern ice cap into Younger Dryas time.

A large discrepancy still exists between radiocarbon ages of deglaciation in coastal south-western Maine and the timing of ice retreat indicated by New England varve records in areas to the west. Part of this problem may stem from the uncertainty of reservoir corrections applied to the radiocarbon ages of marine organics.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Harold W. Borns, Lisa A. Doner, Christopher C. Dorion, George L. Jacobson, Michael R. Kaplan, Karl J. Kreutz, Thomas V. Lowell, Woodrow B. Thompson, Thomas K. Weddle, The deglaciation of Maine, U.S.A., Developments in Quaternary Sciences, Volume 2, 2004, Pages 89-109, ISSN 1571-0866, (

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Copyright © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



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