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Soils, Geomorphology, GIS and Paleolakes in Northern Michigan

This project will address the relationships among soils, surficial sediments, landforms, and the glacial history of three Michigan landscapes. The research will utilize county-level soils data and combine it with fieldwork and a knowledge of the sedimentary environments of the soil parent materials, to interpret the glacial history of the three regions. Geomorphologists now hypothesize that large lakes may have covered many of Michigan's landscapes immediately after the glaciers retreated. This work will discern the spatial and temporal details about some of these lakes. What makes this research intriguing is the fact that these landscapes are on uplands. The research will also develop and refine a mapping methodology that, until recently, has not been possible due to lack of digital soils data.<br/> Fieldwork will relate soils to the sediments they have formed in (e.g., glacial outwash, lacustrine sands, glacial till). In a GIS, detailed surficial sediment maps will be created for each region. Follow-up fieldwork will be used to (1) check the accuracy of these maps by examining shoreline areas and possible lake outlets, and (2) establish the spatial variation in sediments from deep water, shallow water, and lake-marginal settings. These data will add to a growing picture of deglaciation and landscape evolution in the Great Lakes region during the Latest Pleistocene, a time when climatic and landscape change were occurring faster than at any time in the past 135,000 years, and one in which water and ice each played a great role in shaping the landscape. Results will provide important baseline data for soil scientists, thereby facilitating more accurate (re)mapping of the soil and sedimentological resources of the Great Lakes region.

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The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
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up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.