Preliminary map showing the thickness of glacial deposits in Ohio

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1862



This map was compiled as part of a U.S. Geological Survey project to portray the character and thickness of glacial deposits east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a preliminary map, compiled at a scale of 1:250,000 from sources of differing type and quality (fig. I, table 1). County drift-thickness maps produced by the Ohio Geological Survey are the most reliable source of data used. These county maps, either published or in manuscript form, were available for 36 of the 72 counties that contain glacial or glacially related deposits more than 50 ft thick. An earlier, reconnaissance drift-thickness map of northwestern Ohio (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 1960) provided data for parts of 12 additional counties. Published maps of bedrock topography were utilized for 9 counties and for parts of 6 counties. The computation of drift thickness in these counties is less reliable then the drift-thickness maps published by the Ohio Geological Survey because the bedrock topography maps, most of which are at least 20 years old, were compiled from a more limited set of data. In the remaining counties, only well-log data were available. Drift-thickness data in these counties are the least reliable; the determination of thickness trends was commonly guided by the configuration of preglacial drainage channels (as drawn by Stout and others, 1943) and by topography.

Throughout the glaciated areas of Ohio, and especially near the glacial margin, a network of drainage channels is buried by glacial drift. Some of these channels arc of a preglacial age while others were formed during interglacial periods; some were cut into the bedrock by rivers— either preglacial rivers or meltwater streams flowing along the glacial margin—while others, such as the lower Cuyahoga River valley, may have been overdeepened by the erosive power of glacial ice. The thickest deposits of drift in the state occur in the lower Cuyahoga River valley near Lake Erie, and above the buried valley in west-central Ohio that has been historically considered a part of the Teays Valley. The thickest drift reliably measured in Ohio to date is 602 ft in a drill hole near Cleveland.

In contrast to the extreme variations in drift thickness encountered in the vicinity of buried channels, drift on the upland arcus is generally thinner and the variations in thickness are much less pronounced. Worthy of note, however, are three large areas where the drift sheet is relatively thick. In northwestern Ohio, a large volume of drift was deposited along the flanks of the Erie ice lobe (fig. 2) near the interlobate position with the Saginaw lobe to the northwest; drift thickness there exceeds 200 ft. Thick drift was also deposited in a roughly cast-west band across the Miami lobe. The mechanism that produced this band of thick drift is not obvious, but it may have been influenced in part by bedrock topography. Bedrock control of drift thickness is more clearly indicated to the cast of Columbus, along the eastern flank of the Scioto lobe, where ice slow was resisted by rocks of the Allegheny plateau. The edge of the plateau, or the Allegheny escarpment, is obscured by glacial deposits but its likely position (Fenneman, 1938; Stout and others, 1913; Dove, 1960; and Root and others, 1961) is shown on the map. Southward from the ice margin's reentrant position in southern Richland County, ice flowing eastward from the Scioto lobe encountered the topographically higher plateau, which constrained the ice and caused drift to accumulate in significant thicknesses just to the west of the escarpment.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Preliminary map showing the thickness of glacial deposits in Ohio
Series title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number 1862
DOI 10.3133/mf1862
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description Plate: 45.55 x 37.23 inches
Country United States
State Ohio
Scale 0
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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