Paleoclimate of the Albion Range, southern Idaho

Dan Cadol, Class of 2003

Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362

     For my senior research, I am working with a team that includes Professor Doug Clark, from Western Washington University, Niki Bowerman, also from WWU, and Paul Bovet from Colorado College. We are looking into the climate of the Albion Range, in southern Idaho, since the last glacial maximum. We conducted field work as part of the Idaho Keck Project, in the summer of 2002, mapping the Pinedale and later age moraines near Lake Cleveland (on Mount Harrison) and the Independence Lakes Basin (situated between Cache Peak and Independence Peak). We also conducted bathymetric surveys of Lake Cleveland and the four Independence Lakes, and took core samples of the sediments that have accumulated on the bottom of each lake. These lake sediment cores are our primary source of data. The record ranges in length from 7 meters (in Lake Cleveland) to 1.5 meters in Independence Lake #2. This represents the amount of sedimentation that has occurred since the glaciers last retreated from the lake basins. We are currently in the process of analyzing these core samples for grain size, magnetic susceptibility, and organic content in an effort to determine upstream glacial activity since the formation of the lakes. We also plan on dating several organic macro fossils from throughout the cores in an effort to find a real age for these events. Finally, we are using weather data collected by US Forest Service Snotel sites and National Weather Service recording sites, along with ELA calculations based on the glacial maximum areas that we mapped, in an effort to determine how much the climate has changed since glaciers were last able to develop in the mountains of southern Idaho.

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