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Glacial lake deltas in New England record continuous, not delayed, postglacial rebound

Hooke, Roger LeBaron, Ridge, John Charles
Quaternary Research 2016 v.85 pp. 399-408
glaciation, glaciers, ice, lakes, mathematical models, shorelines, Connecticut River, New England region
Deltas formed in Lake Hitchcock, a glacial lake that developed in the Connecticut River Valley, New England, between ∼18.3 and 12.5 ka. The heights of topset/foreset contacts of these deltas presently increase northward, linearly, at rate of ∼0.9 m/km. Others have interpreted this as indicating that isostatic rebound did not begin until after the lake drained, several kiloyears after glacial retreat began. However, (non-elastic) adjustment of Earth's lithosphere to changing loads is known to occur on time scales of years. Late-glacial shoreline features elsewhere in New England also increase in elevation with distance from the LGM margin at ∼0.9 m/km, suggesting that this is a result of fundamental properties of the crust and mantle, and independent of the history of glacier retreat. On the basis of a numerical model of flexure of the lithosphere beneath a circular load, we suggest that deflection of the lithosphere is remarkably linear in a zone 50–200 km wide between the retreating ice margin and a forebulge, and that initial rebound of this zone is spatially quite uniform for some kiloyears before differential rebound starts. Thus, lake shorelines, formed over a period of some centuries during deglaciation would, today, rise linearly northward.