CGRG Bibliography of Canadian Geomorphology
Author : Smith, D.J.; and Gardner, J.S.
Date : 1979
Title : The distribution and significance of patterned ground in the Mt. Rae area, southwest Alberta
Publication : Albertan Geographer
Issue : 15:
Page(s) : 49-67
The patterned ground described and discussed in this paper has implications for our understanding of the chronology of geomorphic processes in the Mount Rae area and, perhaps, in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. The presence of active miniature forms indicates that periglacial processes are modifying the geomorphology of the area. This contention is supported by related research on low-magnitude rockfalls which are partially dependent on freeze-thaw processes. However, periglacial features such as solifluction lobes have been inactive over the past two years. In contrast, Harris (1973) recorded active soil creep at a nearby location. These observations tend to confirm the existence of only a moderate periglacial environment at the present time. The existence of several sets of inactive, large-scale patterned ground forms attests to several past episodes of more intense periglacial geomorphic activity. These periods are tentatively assigned to the Little Ice Age (350-100 years BP) and an early Holocene glacial stadial (before 6600 years BP). Morphological and sedimentological evidence of Neoglacial and earlier Holocene glaciations in the area is spatially restricted, compared with the more extensive forms and deposits reported for the main ranges. Moreover, less intensive late-Wisconsin glaciation than in the adjacent main ranges is evident through much of the study area. The peaks and ridges, standing above the ice as nunataks imply that the existing landsurface is older than was heretofore supposed; and significant areas of the surface were exposed to periglacial climatic conditions at several times in the past. We propose that the fossilized patterned ground phenomena described in this study are the geomorphic manifestations of periods of more severe periglacial climates which are manifest elsewhere in the Rockies by identifiable glacier and rock glacier advances.
Bibliography of Canadian Geomorphology