Examining tectonic-climatic interactions in Alaska and the northeastern Pacific

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Abstract

Southeastern Alaska, encompassing the glaciated Chugach-St. Elias range (Figure 1), is one of the premier locations where tectonics, orogenesis, glacial erosion, landscape modification, and continental margin sedimentation can be studied in unison, allowing for quantitative models to be developed linking this suite of processes [e.g., Jaeger et al, 2001 ]. This area is an exceptional natural laboratory for studying a range of geologic problems (Figures 2 and 3), including the links between orogenic processes and continental accretion, glacial landscape modification, and sedimentation.

Geologic processes operate at rapid rates along the margin, which allows concurrent data collection on tectonic deformation, uplift, erosion, and sedimentation and development of comprehensive geodynamic models connecting these diverse processes.The active processes in southeastern Alaska are comparable or significantly greater than those studied in the Himalayan orogeny, and include extremely high sediment yields, active faults associated with mountains and valley glaciers, and orogeny coinciding with extensive glacial cover.

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