First Advisor

Keith S. Hadley

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Cirques (Glacial landforms) -- Oregon -- Mt. Thielsen, Geochronometry



Physical Description

1 online resource. Digitized manuscript


Little Ice Age (LIA) deposits are recognized on Mt. Tbielsen, southern Oregon Cascades (43° 9' N, 122° 3' W), based on particle morphology and relative position. The initial advance, Lathrop 1, created a sharp-crested moraine and a protalus rampart within 200 m of the headwall. The retreat of the glacier and recent ice movement, Lathrop 2, is recognized by the deformation of the moraine and a mantle of "protalus till" creating a polygenetic "push-deformation'' moraine. Both the moraine and the protalus rampart have sparse vegetation, no lichens, and a lightly weathered Cox/C soil. This sequence is correlative with LIA Phase 1 and Phase 2 on Mt. Jefferson, central Oregon Cascades, and is broadly correlated with LIA deposits throughout the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains.

There is no evidence for pre-LIA deposits at Mt. Thielsen. The ELA on Lathrop Glacier (2450 m) is lower than ELAs on nearby glaciers. The glacier probably exists because of its preferential topographic position and extensive debris cover; thus, if annual snowfall decreases the glacier will persist longer than a similar sized bare ice glacier. Conversely, a growing protalus rampart may indicate an increase in annual snowfall but not necessarily a decrease in annual temperatures. The lack of older Neoglacial deposits on Mt. Thielsen may be a result of insufficient snowfall to maintain or advance the Lathrop Glacier. As such, the LIA may represent a period when climatic conditions were more severe than at any other time in the Neoglacial.

Boulder size, shape, and orientation proved useful for classifying geomorphic features and assessing the relative ages of slopes. However, soils are the best method for correlating deposits in the cirque with other locations. Soils beyond the moraine are developed in Mazama ash and have moderately developed Bw horizons, depth to weathering over 70 cm, and Harden's PDI for B horizons of 2.10-3.64. Soils are Typic Vitricryands.


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