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TitleLate Quaternary eolian dune-field mobilization and stabilization near the Laurentide Ice Sheet limit, New Jersey Pine Barrens, eastern USA
AuthorWolfe, S AORCID logo; Demitroff, M D; Neudorf, C M; Woronko, B; Chmielowska, D; Lian, O B
SourceAeolian Research vol. 62, 100877, 2023 p. 1-17,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20220350
Mediapaper; digital; on-line
File formatpdf; html
AreaNew Jersey; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS -76.0000 -73.8333 41.1667 38.8333
SubjectsScience and Technology; general geology; dunes; New Jersey Pine Barrens; Laurentide Ice Sheet; Quaternary
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; tables; diagrams
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Permafrost
Released2023 06 07
AbstractWell-preserved stabilized dune fields are widespread in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, northern Atlantic Coastal Plain, USA. In this area, which was unglaciated throughout the Quaternary, quartz-rich Miocene-Pleistocene age fluvial and marginal marine sands provided source sediments for eolian mobilization. Parabolic and transverse dunes within fluvial source-bordering dune fields in small-river watersheds migrated to the east-southeast (110-125°) over unconsolidated sands and gravels. The short eolian transport distance of most dune-field sand in the presence of moderately to sub-rounded quartz grains with low sphericity indicates eolian abrasion and dune-sand fashioning occurred within a short duration of transport. Although the absolute duration of eolian transport remains unknown, dune stabilization occurred about 23-17.5 ka, with a weighted mean of 19.5 ± 0.5 ka from six dated dunes. Dune stabilization coincided with northward retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from its maximum position at ~41.500° N (~100 km north of the study area), to ~41.375°N (~200 km north). The well-preserved dune morphology and narrowly constrained ages suggest rapid dune stabilization. Dune-forming katabatic winds from the WNW declined abruptly with northward migration of the ice sheet, accompanied by climatic amelioration and stabilization by vegetation. A short-lived period of eolian mobilization may have been associated with a temporary increase in sand availability from adjacent fluvially derived sediments. Post-depositional processes included soil eluviation, with dissolution features and breakage blocks on quartz grains signifying long-term in-situ soil weathering.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Stabilized sand dunes occur in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, USA. The dunes were active when the Laurentide Ice Sheet was at its maximum southerly position, abut 100 km north of the dune fields, and cold, katabatic winds from the NE resulted in sediment transport towards the SE. The sand dunes stabilized about 19 thousand years ago, when the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated from its maximum position to about 200 km north of the dunes. The source sediments for the dunes were locally-derived alluvial sediments related to small adjacent watersheds. The dune stabilized abruptly under conditions of reduced winds and increased precipitation and temperatures that increased vegetation cover.

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