The northern limits of glacial Lake Algonquin in upper Michigan

TitleThe northern limits of glacial Lake Algonquin in upper Michigan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1981
AuthorsFutyma RP
JournalQuaternary Research

A number of ancient shorelines formed by late-Pleistocene proglacial lakes have been found in eastern upper Michigan. These shorelines delimit several water planes, the uppermost of which is correlated with the Main Lake Algonquin stage. This correlation is based on the continuity of the highest water plane with Main Algonquin shorelines in Wisconsin and Ontario, the strength of the shoreline features, its altitudinal relationship with lower water planes, and a reinterpretation of radiocarbon dates from the Sault Ste. Marie area. The isobases of this water plane have a bearing of S75E. At the time of the maximum extent of Lake Algonquin, ca. 10,600 yr B.P., its northern, ice-limited border lay along the Munising moraine, the northernmost of the two main morainic systems of eastern upper Michigan. This interpretation lends support to the idea of a period of slow deglaciation from ca. 11,000 to 10,000 yr B.P. An ice lobe occupied the central Lake Superior basin until early Holocene time. Radiocarbon dates on wood found beneath till or outwash at several sites indicate a minor ice readvance from the central Lake Superior basin ca. 10,000 yr B.P. If true, this would have prevented the development of the post-Duluth series of glacial lakes in the western Lake Superior basin until ca. 9900 yr B.P., well after the end of the Main Lake Algonquin stage.