In glacial lake sediments, the thickness and grain size of annual silt and clay layers (varves) show a change over time that can be interpreted both in terms of sediment delivery from changing summer climate (seasonal runoff) and ice retreat (distance from the paleo-ice margin) (Bierman and Montgomery, 2014). The location of Varves are most common in cold-temperature environments, formed within deep anoxic lakes that are frozen over for part of the year and where sediment input is strongly seasonal, which can be viewed by the alternating layers of assorted material (Bradley, 1999). By interpreting how these different layers alternate and change thickness, they can show a clear cyclicity in the grain size of the material it contains (Bierman and Montgomery, 2014). This occurs from lake sediment accumulation that originates from their surrounding environment, thus providing a good indicator for a record of environmental change (Bradley, 1999). However, the thicknesses of glacial varves can be difficult to evaluate with climate change due to the thinning of varves in response to ice recession, flood events, and lake level changes that can obscure thickness changes originally resulting from climate change (Ridge, 1999). This provides a difficulty for determining the approximate ages of glacial varves that must include precise methodological approaches for determining accurate ages.
This paper focuses on the varve samples collected at the Willow Site near Woodstock, New York in order to generate a stratigraphic column and determine the overall age of the samples collected. By doing this, implication for deglacial chronology can be used to determine how climate change affected the surrounding environment during the last glacial maximum from estimates of how long the lake was active for. While the Willow Site itself has never previously been studied, varve data has been collected far throughout the northeast that gives similar dates to when ice retraction occurred.