Chronology of the last glacial maximum in the upper Bear River Basin, Utah

Benjamin J.C. Laabs, Jeffrey S. Munroe, Joseph G. Rosenbaum, Kurt A. Refsnider, David M. Mickelson, Bradley S. Singer, Marc W. Caffee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The headwaters of the Bear River drainage were occupied during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) by outlet glaciers of the Western Uinta Ice Field, an extensive ice mass (∼685 km2) that covered the western slope of the Uinta Mountains. A well-preserved sequence of latero-frontal moraines in the drainage indicates that outlet glaciers advanced beyond the mountain front and coalesced on the piedmont. Glacial deposits in the Bear River drainage provide a unique setting where both 10Be cosmogenic surface-exposure dating of moraine boulders and 14C dating of sediment in Bear Lake downstream of the glaciated area set age limits on the timing of glaciation. Limiting 14C ages of glacial flour in Bear Lake (corrected to calendar years using CALIB 5.0) indicate that ice advance began at 32 ka and culminated at about 24 ka. Based on a Bayesian statistical analysis of cosmogenic surface-exposure ages from two areas on the terminal moraine complex, the Bear River glacier began its final retreat at about 18.7 to 18.1 ka, approximately coincident with the start of deglaciation elsewhere in the central Rocky Mountains and many other alpine glacial localities worldwide. Unlike valleys of the southwestern Uinta Mountains, deglaciation of the Bear River drainage began prior to the hydrologie fall of Lake Bonneville from the Provo shoreline at about 16 ka.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-548
Number of pages12
JournalArctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007

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Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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