The origin of Illinois Episode (OIS 6) glacial ridges (formerly: 'Ridged Drift') in the Kaskaskia Basin of southwestern Illinois is controversial despite a century of research. Two studied ridges, containing mostly fluvial sand (OSL ages: ~150 ± 19 ka), with associated debris flows and high-angle reverse faults, are interpreted as ice-walled channels. A third studied ridge, containing mostly fine-grained till, is arcuate and morainal. The spatial arrangement of various ridge types can be explained by a glacial sublobe in the Kaskaskia Basin, with mainly fine-grained ridges along the sublobe margins and coarse-grained glaciofluvial ridges in a paleodrainage network within the sublobe interior. Illinois Episode till fabric and striation data demonstrate southwesterly ice flow that may diverge near the sublobe terminus. The sublobe likely formed as glacial ice thinned and receded from its maximum extent. The Kaskaskia Basin contains some of the best-preserved Illinois Episode constructional glacial landforms in the North American midcontinent. Such distinctive features probably result from ice flow and sedimentation into this former lowland, in addition to minimal postglacial erosion. Other similar OIS 6 glacial landforms may exist in association with previously unrecognized sublobes in the midcontinent, where paleo-lowlands might also have focused glacial sedimentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Glacial ridges
  • Hagarstown Member
  • Ice-walled channel
  • Illinois
  • Illinois Episode
  • Kaskaskia Basin
  • Moraine
  • Ridged Drift
  • Sedimentology
  • Till fabric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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