Charlotte the Vermont Whale:

Charlotte, The Vermont Whale

Champlain Basin Glacial History

The whale was preserved in the sediments of the Champlain Sea, an arm of the ocean that extended into the Champlain Valley for 2500 years following the retreat of the glaciers 12,500 years ago.

This map is an artists conception of the extent of glacial coverage some 13,000 years ago, the retreat of these glaciers and the subsequent creation and disappearance of the Champlain sea.

The tremendous weight of the glaciers caused the earth beneath them to compress and subsequently sink. Immediately after the glaciers retreated northward, the land remained depressed for quite some time, allowing the ocean to overflow the land. Thus was the Champlain Sea born.

As time marched on, the earth slowly rebounded, and the mouth of the sea gradually closed.

Important caveats: This "visualization" is also an unfortunate example of How to Lie and Deceive with Scientific Visualization. The visualization creator was not very careful in positioning the keyframes of the animation; thus, there are several artifacts which suggest elements of continental drift which just did not happen in reality. This same visualization technician also discarded the notes which described the exact time frame involved in the sequence -- it was along the lines of from 18,000 to 9000 years ago.


Copyright 1996 
University of Vermont and others. All rights reserved.

Brought to you through the courtesy of Enterprise Technology Services, University of Vermont. Copyright © 1996 The University of Vermont and others. All rights reserved.
Wesley.Wright@uvm.edu and jefflhowe@verizon.net
last update Octobewr 21, 1996 WAW