Reconciling the roles of tectonism and climate in Quaternary alluvial fan evolution

J. B. Ritter, J. R. Miller, Y. Enzel, S. G. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The Madison Range and Madison River valley, southwestern Montana, were affected during late Quaternary time by varying degrees of tectonic activity as well as by climate change through multiple glaciations; we are thus able to evaluate the impact of tectonism and climate on fan evolution. Two primary fan deposits were correlated along the range front. They were deposited as proglacial outwash fans during glacial periods of increased sediment and water discharge. During the present interglacial period, these deposits were entrenched and secondary fans formed on lower fan areas. Temporal and stratigraphic relations indicate that climate was largely responsible for driving both fan aggradation and entrenchment. In contrast, stratigraphic relations between fan deposits and surface faults do not support a direct relation, either spatial or temporal, between local faulting and fan deposition. -from Authors

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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