The southern limit of the lobes of the Cordilleran ice sheet in the Colville and Pend Oreille valleys of northeastern Washington during the Late Wisconsin (Fraser) glaciation has been placed at widely different positions by various investigators. The confusion that resulted in these different positions is due to the fact that both lobes, at times, terminated in glacial lakes and much of the terminal area of the Pend Oreille River lobe was swept by floods from glacial Lake Missoula. Evidence, presented in this paper, of the southern limit of these two lobes during the Late Wisconsin glaciation consists of (i) the southern limit of Late Wisconsinan till, (ii) the southern limit of lateral meltwater channels, (iii) meltwater channels whose headward areas coincide with the southern limit of Late Wisconsinan till, and (iv) reconstructed ice-surface profiles. This evidence suggests that the southern limit of the Colville lobe is represented by a moraine near the town of Springdale, whereas that of the Pend Oreille River lobe is near the town of Newport. The timing and extent of Late Wisconsinan deglaciation in the Colville Valley are provided by radiocarbon ages and Late Pleistocene tephras at sites upglacier from the terminal position. These data demonstrate that the Colville lobe had retreated at least 50 km by about 12450 BP. In the Pend Oreille Valley, the presence of a Glacier Peak tephra layer near the town of lone indicates that the Pend Oreille River lobe had retreated at least 70 km prior to deposition of the tephra.
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The southern limit of Cordilleran ice in the Colville and Pend Oreille valleys of northeastern Washington during the Late Wisconsin glaciation