Sunday, 9 February 2003
The Influence of Meteorological and Geological Processes on the Formation, Development and Characteristics of Montane Lakes
From the extensive study of meteorological, mapping, and lake characteristic data collected over the summer of 2002, a possible scenario for the formation and development of the lakes of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming was determined. The area of study encompassed a large portion of a glaciated valley, with a sequence of granite gneiss moraines lining the valley floor, damming the flow of meltwater into a string of montane lakes. Detailed mapping of these moraines provided data with which to construct a map of these significant geologic features. From these data, the location, size, curvature and orientation of the moraines are extracted, as well as their relationship with the lakes they enfold. These data were collected through manual measurement of the dimensions of the moraines at certain points, of which the GPS coordinates were recorded, and along certain intervals. In order to relate the moraine characteristics to the lake formation process, the characteristics of two lakes in particular were also observed. Chemical tests, depth and dimension measurements, and lake bottom constituent observations were taken of both lakes. Evaporation rates at multiple locations, and inflow and outflow measurements of the lakes were also noted. The lake and meteorological data were analyzed in conjunction with the mapping data in order to develop a holistic understanding of the geomorphology of the region. Future analysis will include an attempt to correlate the lake data of one lake with another, with the data collected by the meteorological equipment. This correlation will be juxtaposed with a more detailed description of the moraines and their locations and orientations relative to one another and to the lakes.
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