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Kevin Kincare, Ph.D.

I am currently mapping the glacial geology of the Manistee National Forest and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest lower Michigan as well as ongoing work in the St. Joseph River basin of southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. I am also working with the Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition which includes all 8 states that have Great Lakes coastline.

My research goals are to: 1) develop local/regional Quaternary stratigraphic frameworks in each map area, 2) improve our ability to predict the 3-D stratigraphy and distribution of material units (gravel, sand, silt-clay, till) in glacial systems, 3) better assess how stratigraphic features affect flow of ground water through the system, and 4) assure that the most consistent geologic models are used in collaborative studies.

The existing literature does not deal with one of the basic facts of drainage basins developed in glacial landscapes.  Where glaciers were unconstrained by bedrock uplands (e.g. much of the upper Midwest), drainage basins are often sequentially constructed from their distal to proximal areas rather than the classical evolution by headward erosion of streams and springs over long periods of time.  Glacial retreat adds sections to the basin in step-wise fashion as the glacier margin moves basinward.  The pattern, common in the literature, of regional slope and stream-network development corresponding to a pre-existing structural or stratigraphic pattern does not apply to these drainages.  Rivers draining today into the Lake Michigan basin were constructed in discrete parts during retreat of the Lake Michigan lobe and, in the case of the St. Joseph and Manistee Rivers, further imprinted by a buried Saginaw lobe terrain as well as the addition of outwash from the proximal edge by the Huron/Erie lobe.  Each discrete part has a distinct depositional history that may not match that of the previously or subsequently added segments.   One of the major outcomes of our research is that a realistic model of post-glacial drainage basin development must reflect abrupt contrasts of sediment properties and slope gradients related to each successive ice-marginal position.