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Inland sand dunes are widespread in northeast Wisconsin. Today, almost all of the dunes are stabilized by modern vegetation, and there are no active dune fields. Dune formation is believed to have occurred in the geologic past shortly after the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation (last ice age) under rapidly-changing climatic conditions. This project seeks to establish the paleoclimate conditions and history of dune formation in northeast Wisconsin, specifically Oconto County, by geologic mapping from LiDAR surveys and analyzing temporal controls on dune formation determined using unpublished optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates. Findings are then related to knowledge of past climate conditions, and extrapolated into new understandings of regional dune reactivation during the 20th c. Dust Bowl, and potential for future reactivation using forecasted climate change models.


Dr. Nelson Ham, Geology and Environmental Science

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geology, environmental science, climate change

Paleoclimate of Inland Dunes: Linking OSL Dates to Dune Activation & Climate Change

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