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The Wisconsin glaciation extended from approximately 75, to 11, years ago, between the Sangamonian Stage known globally as the Eemian stage and the current interglacial, the Holocene. The maximum ice extent occurred approximately 25,—21, years ago during the last glacial maximum , also known as the Late Wisconsin in North America.
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This glaciation radically altered the geography north of the Ohio River. In southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta a suture zone between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets formed the Cypress Hills , North America's northernmost point that remained south of the continental ice sheets. During much of the glaciation, sea level was low enough to permit land animals, including humans , to occupy Beringia the Bering Land Bridge and move between North America and Siberia.
As the glaciers retreated, glacial lakes were breached in great floods of water such as the Kankakee Torrent , which reshaped the landscape south of modern Chicago as far as the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It retreated an unknown distance before halting. During this period of quiet, the glacial deposits were eroded and weathered. This first Wisconsin period erased all the Illinoian glacial topography that extended over.
This may have been due to changes in the accumulation center of the ice sheet, topographic changes introduced by the Early phase or by pressure changes in the ice mass in the north.
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Unlike the other two ice sheets, this one is mountain based covering British Columbia and reaching into northern Washington State and Montana. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet has more of an Alpine style of many glaciers merged into a whole.
The striations made by the ice field in moving over the bedrock show that it moved principally to the west through the passes of the coast range. Whenever the ice sheet melted from the north at a moraine , water would begin to pond in the divide between a moraine and the ice front. The ice would act as a dam as water could not drain through the ice sheet, which in the Wisconsin period covered most of the proglacial river valleys.
Numerous small, isolated water bodies formed between the moraine and the ice front. As the ice sheet would continue to melt and recede northward, these ponds combined into proglacial lakes. In areas without an available outlet, the water levels would either continue to rise until reaching one or more low spots along the rim of a moraine, or the ice sheet would retreat, opening access to a lower portion of the moraine.
Ice melt and rainfall carried large quantities of clay , sand , and gravel from the ice mass. Clays could be moved long distances by moving water, while sand and gravel could not. Thus, sand and gravel landforms developed along the sides and front of the ice sheet;  elongated accumulations of this material are known as kames.
Wisconsin glaciation - Wikipedia
Mounds along the frontal edge of the ice are called moraines. Wherever a subglacial tunnel began infilling, long winding formations known as eskers would form.
The sweeping plain of sand and gravel beyond the ice margin and a terminal moraine is called an outwash plain. This formation is highly desirable for human economic development as a source of water. Prehistoric human migration was likely greatly influenced by this last glacial period, as during much of the Wisconsin era, the formation of a land bridge known as Beringia across the Bering Strait is believed to have allowed human occupation of this area which provided potential access for some of the first humans to move between North America and Siberia in Asia see Settlement of the Americas.
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Other human migration routes also opened during interglacial periods in both Europe and Asia. North American flora and fauna species were distributed quite differently during the Wisconsin era, due to altered temperatures, surface water distribution, and in some cases coverage of earth surface by glaciers. A number of scientific studies have been conducted to determine species distribution, particularly during the Late Wisconsin and early to mid-Holocene. An example of findings is from the investigation of flora species using pollen -core samples in present-day northern Arizona.
Here in the Waterman Hills researchers found that Juniperus osteosperma and Pinus monophylla were early to mid-Holocene dominant trees, while Monardella arizonica has been a continuously present understory plant. Celtis reticulata is an example of a plant present in the early Holocene following Wisconsin glacial retreat, a species no longer present at the Waterman Mountains site.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. North American glacial ice sheet. See also: Laurentide Ice Sheet. See also: Great Lakes. Main article: Cordilleran Ice Sheet.