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Kutztown logoGeophysical Investigations of Glacial History near the Montezuma Wetlands Complex in New York 

Musa, D., Sherrod, L., Kozlowski, A., Bird, B. 2013. Geophysical Investigations of Glacial History near the Montezuma Wetlands Complex in New York. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP 13), Denver, CO, (17 March 21 March 2013)..

Dea using resistivity instrument in fieldThe Montezuma Wetlands Complex of New York State represents an important hydrologic zone with a diverse ecosystem. The present landscape was created through numerous glacial cycles with the surficial geology representing deposition as ice retreated across New York from the last glacial maximum, 26,000 years BP. These deposits produced the intricate hydrologic network of the Montezuma Wetlands and surrounding areas. In the summer of 2012 two sites were identified through LIDAR imagery and surveyed with geophysical methods. The first location, in Lyons, is a glacial melt water channel 15km northwest of the Montezuma Wetlands, containing abundant plant macrofossils which were used to constrain the date of the sediment.  Interpretations of the direction of meltwater flow paths were made at this site. The second site, located near Duck Lake, consists of a drumlin, an esker, and an esker fan deposited at the ice margin where the esker emerges from under the glacier.  The proximity of such varied glacial features makes this a fundamental site for cataloging geophysical responses.  Resistivity data were acquired at the first location with a DAS-1 system at 1, 2, and 5 meter electrode spacing using a dipole-dipole array. A GSSI SIR 3000 system with 100, 200, and 400 MHz antennas was used to collect GPR data at both locations.  Topographic corrections were made using GPS points in conjunction with LIDAR data. Cross cutting subsurface channels on the delta deposit sediment at the first site indicate anastomosing features of water during glacial retreat. Braided gravel deposits and large boulders identified through hyperbolic GPR reflections along the esker and across the fan shaped deposit confirm glacial gravel deposition. These geophysical results, combined with borehole logs and radiometric dating provide a better understanding of the glacial processes in this important wetland, influencing the landscapes and ecosystems present today.

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Kurt Friehauf - June 2013