An estimate of the sliding velocity and basal meltwater discharge of the Puget lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet can be calculated from its reconstructed extent, altitude, and mass balance. Lobe dimensions and surface altitudes are inferred from ice limits and flow-direction indicators. Net annual mass balance and total ablation are calculated from relations empirically derived from modern maritime glaciers. An equilibrium-line altitude between 1200 and 1250 m is calculated for the maximum glacial advance (ca. 15,000 yr B.P.) during the Vashon Stade of the Fraser Glaciation. This estimate is in accord with geologic data and is insensitive to plausible variability in the parameters used in the reconstruction. Resultant sliding velocities are as much as 650 m/a at the equilibrium line, decreasing both up- and downglacier. Such velocities for an ice sheet of this size are consistent with nonsurging behavior. Average meltwater discharge increases monotonically downglacier to 3000 m3/sec at the terminus and is of a comparable magnitude to ice discharge over much of the glacier's ablation area. Palcoclimatic inferences derived from this reconstruction are consistent with previous, independently derived studies of late Pleistocene temperature and precipitation in the Pacific Northwest. ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
Mass balance and sliding velocity of the Puget lobe of the cordilleran ice sheet during the last glaciation