Document Type



The problem of the oriented lakes on Alaska's Arctic Coastal Plain provides an excellent opportunity for illustrating the application of the method of multiple-working hypotheses to a geologic problem. Five hypotheses are considered and are deemed to be inconclusive; a composite of these is thought to provide an explanation of the lakes' origin. The hypotheses considered are: (1) that waves, produced by an ancient prevailing wind blowing parallel to the lake elongation, eroded the basins; (2) that the present winds produce wave current systems which preferentially scour the north and south lake shores, thus producing elongation; (3) that the winds produce a preferred distribution of sediment which determines orientation of the lakes by insulating the east and west shores, thus protecting them from erosion ; (4) that orientation is developed by thaw produced by maximum insolation during the noon-hours; and (5) that the lakes are developed along north-south trending ice-wedges which formed in the north-south components of a right-angle fracture system. The process of consideration and elimination of these hypotheses leads to a composite hypothesis. This proposes that oriented ice-wedges might develop in the fracture system; that maximum insolation would be more effective in melting the north-south trending wedges than the complementary set; that the oriented depressions so oriented would in effect be perpetuated and enlarged by thaw and wind (wave) oriented sediments on the east-west shores.

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Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





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©1959 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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