Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Quaternary Research 21 (1984), pp. 286-303.


Copyright © 1984 by the University of Washington. Published by Elsevier. Used by permission.


The Ruby Mountains-East Humboldt Range, one of the interior mountain groups of the Basin and Range Province, lies about midway between the Wasatch Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. After Blackwelder’s description in his review of glaciation in the western mountains, Sharp mapped and named the deposits of the Lamoille and Angel Lake glaciations and correlated them with early and late Wisconsin deposits of the Great Lakes area. The refinement of relative dating (RD) methods, the availability of air photos and modem topographic maps, and new road cuts have aided the restudy of these alpine glacial deposits and the basis for their correlation. Lamoille moraines are smooth ridges and show little detail of constructional topography. Valleys glaciated only by Lamoille ice still show the characteristics of a glaciated trough, but they have been greatly modified by weathering and erosion. Granite boulders on Lamoille moraines are pitted, and pegmatites have grotesque shapes with 30-cm-deep pits. Cuts through Lamoille end moraines (and alluvial talus cones) expose a thick soil profile with a well-developed blocky structure in a reddish brown argillic B horizon. Subsurface granitic boulders in the B horizon of Lamoille tills show much greater weathering than do those in Angel Lake tills. In contrast, Angel Lake moraines are irregular and rugged, contain closed depressions, and have been little altered since deposition. Surfaces scoured by Angel Lake ice are fresh and unweathered. Granites of Angel Lake moraines have weathered surfaces but show little pitting; pegmatites have pits up to 10 cm deep. The thin soil profiles on Angel Lake tills and alluvial talus cones display brown colors, minor clay accumulation, and no B-horizon structure. These weathering and morphological differences suggest that the Lamoille deposits have been exposed to weathering and erosion for a period of time as much as an order of magnitude longer than the Angel Lake deposits. Thus only the Angel Lake is Wisconsinan in age, and the Lamoille drift is more reasonably correlated with the Illinoian Stage of the Great Lakes region