Publication Type:

Journal Article


Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Volume 492, p.50-63 (2018)




Angiospermae, aquatic environment, Betula, biostratigraphy, Bryophyta, Canada, Cenozoic, clastic sediments, Coniferales, Cyperaceae, deglaciation, diamicton, eastern canada, glacial geology, Gramineae, Gymnospermae, Holocene, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Laurentide ice sheet, miospores, MIS 3, MIS 5, modern analogs, Monocotyledoneae, Ontario, optically stimulated luminescence, paleoecology, palynomorphs, Picea, Pinaceae, Pinus, Plantae, Pleistocene, pollen, Quaternary, sediments, Spermatophyta, Sphagnum, till, trees, upper Pleistocene, Wisconsinan


Stratigraphic records from formerly glaciated regions are critical for detailed study of the timing, onset and dynamics of past ice sheets and the palaeoecology of previous ice-free intervals. We examined three stratigraphic sections from an 18-km stretch of the Albany River, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada, located at the geographic center for many Late Pleistocene ice sheets. Till characterization and correlation suggest that at least three glacial advances from shifting ice centers within the Labrador sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet were preserved in these stratigraphic records. Non-glacial units (fluvial, organic-bearing sediments) were constrained via optically stimulated luminescence to two possible periods at ca. 73,000 to 68,000 yr BP and ca. 60,000 yr BP. Boreal and peatland taxa (Picea, Pinus, Poaceae, Betula, Cyperaceae, Sphagnum) dominated the pollen record at each site, whereas plant macrofossils analyzed at one site confirm the local presence of conifer trees (bark, needles, seed wings), bryophytes (largely Scorpidium spp), herbaceous plants (Caryophyllaceae, Carex, Poaceae), and an aquatic setting (e.g. Potamogeton, ephippia of Daphnia spp). Pollen-derived average summer temperature reconstructions suggested that local temperatures at the Albany sites were between 12 and 15 degrees C, which is similar to present-day estimates for the region (14.2 degrees C). Reconstructed annual precipitation estimates were 580-640 mm, which is similar to slightly higher than present-day estimates (564 mm). Non-glacial intervals at the Albany sites likely represent abandoned fluvial environments that supported water-logged peatland biota. Results from this research contribute toward ongoing efforts to constrain ice sheet dynamics over North America during the last glacial cycle (e.g. 71,000-14,000 yr BP) and provide insight into the complex Late Pleistocene palaeoclimate record at the innermost area of the glaciated region.


GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geological Institute.<br/>2018-037016<br/>Albany River<br/>Caryophyllaceae<br/>herbaceous taxa<br/>non-glacial environment