A fine exposure of perennially frozen ice-rich silt and associated flora and vertebrate fauna of late-Quaternary age exists at Mamontova Gora along the Aldan River in central Yakutia, Siberia, U.S.S.R. The silt deposit caps a 50-m-high terrace and consists of three units. An upper layer 1-2 m thick overlies a 10-15-m-thick brownish to black silt layer. The lower silt layer is greenish to gray and about 15 m thick. All the silt is well sorted with 60% of the particles falling between 0.005 and 0.5 mm in diameter and is generally chemically and mineralogically homogeneous. The middle unit contains may extinct vertebrate mammal remains and ice wedges. The lower unit contains little vegetation and no ice wedges. The silt is widespread and exists as a loamy blanket on terraces at various elevations on both sides of the lower Aldan River. The origin of the silt blanket of late-Quaternary age in central Yakutia has long been controversial. Various hypotheses have been suggested, including lacustrine and alluvial, as well as frost-action origins. It is sometimes referred to as loess-like loam. Pe??we?? believes the silt at Mamontova Gora is loess, some of which has been retransported very short distances by water. The silt probably was blown from wide, braided, unvegetated flood plains of rivers draining nearby glaciers. The silt deposits are late Quaternary in age and probably associated with the Maximum glaciation (Samarov) and Sartan and Syryan glaciations of Wisconsinan age. On the basis of biostratigraphy, 10 radiocarbon dates, and their relation to the nearby glacial record, it is felt that the upper unit at Mamontova Gora is Holocene and the middle unit is Wisconsinan. The youngest date available from the middle unit at this particular location is 26,000 years. Dates greater than 56,000 years were obtained in the lower part of the middle unit. The lower unit is definitely beyond the range of radiocarbon dating and probably is older than the last interglacial. The sediment, fauna, ice wedges, stratigraphy, and age of perennially frozen slit deposits in central Alaska are remarkably similar to those of the deposits exposed in central Yakutia. Both areas consist of unglaciated rolling lowlands and river terraces surrounded by high mountains that were extensively glaciated in Pleistocene time. The glaciers extended from the high mountains to the edges of the ranges. In both regions, extensively braided, silt-charged rivers drained the mountains and flowed through the lowlands on their way to the sea. It follows that there should be a similar late-Quaternary history. ?? 1977.
Additional Publication Details
Radiocarbon dates and late-Quaternary stratigraphy from Mamontova Gora, unglaciated central Yakutia, Siberia, U.S.S.R.