Southern Laurentide ice lobes were created by ice streams: Des Moines Lobe in Minnesota, USA

Sedimentary Geology


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Regional mapping in southern Minnesota has illuminated a suite of landforms developed by the Des Moines Lobe that delimit the position of the lobe at its maximum and at lesser readvances. The ice lobe repeatedly advanced, discharged its subglacial water, and subsequently stagnated. Recent glaciological research on Antarctic ice streams has led some glacial geologists to postulate that ice streams drained parts of the marine-based areas of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. I postulate that such ice streams may develop in land-based areas of an ice sheet as well, and that the Des Moines Lobe, 200 km wide and 900 km long, was an outlet glacier of an ice stream. It appears to have been able to advance beyond the Laurentide Ice Sheet as long as adequate water pressure was maintained. However, the outer part of the lobe stagnated because subglacial water that facilitated the flow was able to drain away through tunnel valleys. Stagnation of the lobe is not equivalent to stoppage of the ice stream, because ice repeatedly advanced into and onto the stagnant margins, stacking ice and debris. Similar landforms are also seen in other lobes of the upper midwestern United States.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Southern Laurentide ice lobes were created by ice streams: Des Moines Lobe in Minnesota, USA
Series title Sedimentary Geology
Volume 111
Issue 1-4
Year Published 1997
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Sedimentary Geology
First page 249
Last page 261