TESTING LAKE SEDIMENT AND DENDROGEOMORPHIC PROXIES FOR LITTLE ICE AGE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE IN THE UPPER FRASER RIVER AREA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

This study assesses Little Ice Age (LIA) lake sediment morphological and geochemical records and moraine chronologies in the upper Fraser River watershed, British Columbia, Canada, to resolve differences in paleoenvironmental interpretation and to clarify sediment production and sediment delivery processes within alpine geomorphic systems. Moose Lake (13.9 km2), situated at 1032 m a.s.l., contains a partially varved record indicating variable rates of accumulation during the last millennium that, in general, coincide with previously documented LIA glacial advances in the region and locally. Dendrochronological assessment of forefield surfaces in the headwaters of the catchment (Reef Icefield) shows that periods of moraine construction occurred just prior toad1770,ad1839 andad1883, and some time beforead1570. Taken collectively, increases in varve thickness within eight Moose Lake sediment cores coincide with documented glacier advances over the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the eighteenth century, and nineteenth through twentieth centuries. Glacial activity during the sixteenth century is also indicated. While varve thickness variations in proximal and distal sediments clearly reflect glacial activity upstream of Moose Lake, the intermediate varve record is relatively insensitive to these decadal and longer-term catchment processes. Variations in Ca and related elements derived from glaciated carbonate terrain within the Moose River sub-catchment (including Reef Icefield) indicate gradually increasing delivery from these sources from the twelfth through twentieth centuries even where the varve thickness record is unresponsive. Elevated carbonate concentrations confirm glacial activity c.ad1200,ad1500,ad1750, andad1900.

Keywords: Canadian Rocky Mountains; Little Ice Age; geochemical records; lake sediments; moraine chronologies; varves

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00403.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada 2: Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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