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Keywords:

  • past permafrost;
  • Late Pleistocene;
  • fragipan;
  • frozen ground;
  • deep seasonal frost

Abstract

Sand-wedge casts, soil wedges and other non-diastrophic, post-depositional sedimentary structures suggest that Late-Pleistocene permafrost and deep seasonal frost on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain extended at least as far south as southern Delaware, the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland. Heterogeneous cold-climate slope deposits mantle lower valley-side slopes in central Maryland. A widespread pre-existing fragipan is congruent with the inferred palaeo-permafrost table. The high bulk density of the fragipan was probably enhanced by either thaw consolidation when icy permafrost degraded at the active layer-permafrost interface or by liquefaction and compaction when deep seasonal frost thawed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.