Additional Participants

Senior Personnel

Ann Dieffenbacher-Krall

Andrea Nurse

Aaron Putnam

Organizational Partners

Maine Geological Survey

Project Period

May 2006-April 2007

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This award, under the auspices of the Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER) program, uses funds to increase the chronologic control for the southeastern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS). Ultimately, the researchers want to explore whether they are able to document the response of the ice sheet to major shifts in atmospheric temperature and assess the ability of the ice sheet to produce large volumes of meltwater.

The effect of prominent climate events, such as the Bolling warming (13,000 radiocarbon years before present), on the dynamics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) remains unknown and yet has important implications for understanding the impact of climate change via glacial meltwater pulses and sea-level changes. The researchers suspect that the abrupt change in style of deglaciation corresponds to the onset of Bolling warmth, but they argue that the current chronology is not sufficient to determine if that is, in fact, the case.

Specifically, the researchers want to collect and date fifty (50) new samples of shells and marine algae associated with the coastal moraine belt and the Pineo Ridge End Moraine Complex (PRC). These dates will help bring their chronology of the region up to modern standards and allow them to determine whether or not the changes they see in the glacial record are coeval with regional temperature changes.

The project will include an undergraduate student in a research capacity and the data gathered in the course of this research will be incorporated into the literature for Maine's Ice Age Trail (a display of Maine's geologic history along public roads), as well as into classroom and public lectures.

The research seems to fit well into the high risk and exploratory nature of the SGER program because it is not a certainty that the researchers can establish a reliable chronology that will be of utility for their scientific interests. A small investment of research funds, however, can help shed light on the science issues.

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