Sea Level Evidence Discovered in Casey Bluffs

Ancient geologic records near Camp Casey Conference Center may hold the answers to some of the world’s most pressing questions about rising sea levels. Are there conditions that can lead to some slowing or stability in the melting polar ice caps? Whidbey Island may hold answers.

Assistant Professor Lauren Simkins, Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and doctoral student Marion McKenzie recently spent two weeks at Camp Casey on their continuing quest for geological answers. This is the third time in the past few years this mission has led Dr. Simkins back to Camp Casey.

“We go to places that have been covered by glacial ice to figure out why the ice sheets retreated and how quickly this happened. We ask, ‘Was there anything that stabilized the ice or did the ice slow down when it was retreating?’ These questions are important as we think about what existing ice sheets and glaciers will do in the future,” Simkins said.

Until about 15,000 years ago, ice covered the Puget Sound lowlands, extending down from British Columbia. As the ice advanced across the landscape, it left signatures. As it retreated, it also left sediments that are deposited in the dramatic outcrops — visible exposure of bedrock or ancient superficial deposits — in Island County.

“One thing that makes this area so interesting is that when the ice was covering the landscape, it actually pushed the land below sea level,” said Simkins. “While the ice was retreating, the land popped back up. So not only does this region record ice advance and retreat, but also that emergence from below sea level to above sea level.”

To learn more, visit www.iceocean.org.

Camp Casey Conference Center is the perfect location for an inspiring group getaway to Whidbey Island, Washington. Ideal for sports camps, church groups, outdoor education camps, summer camps, and other nonprofit endeavors, Camp Casey provides overnight accommodations and food service for groups large and small. Explore our group lodging packages and start planning your next group retreat today!