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The Glacial and Relative Sea Level History of Southern Banks Island, NT, Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Vaughan, Jessica M
  • The mapping and dating of surficial glacial landforms and sediments across southern Banks Island document glaciation by the northwest Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) during the last glacial maximum. Geomorphic landforms confirm the operation of an ice stream at least 1000 m thick in Amundsen Gulf that was coalescent with thin, cold-based ice crossing the island’s interior, both advancing offshore onto the polar continental shelf. Raised marine shorelines across western and southern Banks Island are barren, recording early withdrawal of the Amundsen Gulf Ice Stream prior to the resubmergence of Bering Strait and the re-entry of Pacific molluscs ~13,750 cal yr BP. This withdrawal resulted in a loss of ~60,000 km2 of ice –triggering drawdown from the primary northwest LIS divide and instigating changes in subsequent ice flow. The Jesse moraine belt on eastern Banks Island records a lateglacial stillstand and/or readvance of Laurentide ice in Prince of Wales Strait (13,750 – 12,750 cal yr BP). Fossiliferous raised marine sediments that onlap the Jesse moraine belt constrain final deglaciation to ~12,600 cal yr BP, a minimum age for the breakup of the Amundsen Gulf Ice Stream. The investigation of a 30 m thick and 6 km wide stratigraphic sequence at Worth Point, southwest Banks Island, identifies an advance of the ancestral LIS during the Mid-Pleistocene (sensu lato), substantially diversifying the glacial record on Banks Island. Glacial ice emplaced during this advance has persisted through at least two glacial-interglacial cycles, demonstrating the resilience of circumpolar permafrost. Pervasive deformation of the stratigraphic sequence also records a detailed history of glaciotectonism in proglacial and subglacial settings that can result from interactions between cold-based ice and permafrost terrain. This newly recognized history rejects the long-established paleoenvironmental model of Worth Point that assumed a simple ‘layer-cake’ stratigraphy.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2014-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3D21RS6Z
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • England, John (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • LeBlanc, Ray (Anthropology)
    • Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • England, John (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Catuneanu, Octavian (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Waller, Richard (Physical and Geographical Sciences, Keele University, UK)