Summary of Quaternary geology of the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska

  • Schmoll H
  • Yehle L
  • Updike R
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Abstract

Quaternary geology of the Upper Cook Inlet region is dominated by deposits of glacier retreats that followed repeated advances from both adjacent and more distant mountains. At several levels high on the mountains, there are remnant glacial deposits and other features of middle or older Pleistocene age. Late Pleistocene lateral moraines along the Chugach Mountain front represent successively younger positions of ice retreat from the last glacial maximum. As the trunk glacier retreated northeastward up the Anchorage lowland, Cook Inlet transgressed the area, depositing the Bootlegger Cove Formation and Tudor Road deposits. The glacier then readvanced to form the latest Pleistocene Elmendorf Moraine, a prominent feature that trends across the Anchorage lowland. Extensive alluvium was deposited both concurrently and somewhat later as Cook Inlet regressed. Mountain valleys contain (1) locally preserved moraines possibly of early Holocene age; (2) poorly preserved moraine remnants of older late Holocene age; and (3) well-preserved moraines formed mainly during the Little Ice Age. Glaciers still occupy large parts of the mountains, the upper ends of some mountain valleys, and small cirques. Holocene landslide deposits, including those formed during the great Alaska earthquake of 1964, occur throughout the area, especially along bluffs containing the Bootlegger Cove Formation.

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Authors

  • Henry R. Schmoll

  • Lynn A. Yehle

  • Randall G. Updike

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