High-resolution seismic-reflection profiles collected across pro-glacial outwash deposits adjacent to the circa 18 ka b.p. Orient Point–Fishers Island end moraine segment in westernmost Block Island Sound reveal extensive deformation. A rhythmic seismic facies indicates the host outwash deposits are composed of fine-grained glaciolacustrine sediments. The deformation is variably brittle and ductile, but predominantly compressive in nature. Brittle deformation includes reverse faults and thrust faults that strike parallel to the moraine, and thrust sheets that extend from beneath the moraine. Ductile deformation includes folded sediments that overlie undisturbed deposits, showing that they are not drape features. Other seismic evidence for compression along the ice front consists of undisturbed glaciolacustrine strata that dip back toward and underneath the moraine, and angular unconformities on the sea floor where deformed sediments extend above the surrounding undisturbed correlative strata. Together, these ice-marginal glaciotectonic features indicate that the Orient Point–Fishers Island moraine marks a significant readvance of the Laurentide ice sheet, consistent with existing knowledge for neighboring coeval moraines, and not simply a stillstand as previously reported.
Additional publication details
Glaciotectonic deformation associated with the Orient Point-Fishers Island moraine, westernmost Block Island Sound: further evidence of readvance of the Laurentide ice sheet