Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

W.M. Laird


Miller Lake is an ice-walled lake located on the terminus of the Martin River Glacier, south-central Alaska. It has an area of 1.36 km2 and a mean depth of 25 meters. The lake basin was formed by the coalescence of several ice sinkholes and is characterized by extremely uneven bottom topography.

Analysis of detailed thermal data obtained during the summer of 1963 indicates that the lake is never permanently thermally stratified but does develop some stratification during periods of warm, calm weather. This stratification is easily destroyed by stormy weather. Miller Lake is classified as a subpolar lake due to the fact that the thermal gradient is small and the surface temperature is above 4°C for only a relatively short time in the summer. The calculated annual heat budget is 8873 acal/cm2.

The general sediment distribution of Miller Lake is characterized by a band of sand, gravel, and coarser material surrounding a large area composed mainly of silty clay located in the center of the lake. There are several areas of anomalous sediment distribution which are difficult to explain in the light of the physical setting of Miller Lake. Generally, deposition of sediment is controlled by the bathymetry of the lake. Finer sediment is deposited in basins where the effects of currents and waves are small, while coarser material is concentrated on higher areas where finer particles are winnowed out by wave action currents.

The sediments of Miller Lake may generally be classified as a glaciolacustrine diamicton deposit. These sediments are deposited by the glacier and ice bergs which dump phenoclastic material into the lake.

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