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GIA Workshop
Review of Apparent Vertical Movement Rates

Analysis of Great Lakes Volume Changes Resulting from Glacial Isostatic Adjustment

Jacob Bruxer;Chuck Southam
Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) refers to the slow rebounding of the earth's crust as a result of removal of the weight of the glaciers that covered the Great Lakes region some 10,000 years ago. This rebounding results in a slow rate of apparent vertical movement of the land area relative to the water level of the lakes. Due to variations in the thickness of the glaciers, the time they receded, regional geology and other differences, the rate of vertical movement at any location varies throughout the region. A consequence of these vertical movements and the distribution of them around a given lake is that each lake may be storing or decanting water with time. If most of the lake is falling relative to the lake outlet, the lake will be increasingly storing water. Alternatively, if most of the lake is rising relative to the lake outlet, the lake will be increasingly decanting water. This report presents an analysis and estimate of these effects for each of the Great Lakes.
Lake Volume Changes due to Glacial Isostatic Adjustment
Viewable Data:
Great Lakes Gauge Stations Monthly Mean Water Levels
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Supporting Content (Show)
Main Topics
St. Clair River
Questions We Asked
How has GIA affected Michigan-Huron and Erie level relationship?
Key Findings
GIA accounts for 4-5 cm of total head decline
Glacial Isostatic Adjustment Analysis