Abstract

Quadra Sand is a late Pleistocene lithostratigraphic unit with widespread distribution in the Georgia Depression, British Columbia and Puget Lowland, Washington. The unit consists mainly of horizontally and cross-stratified, well sorted sand. It is overlain by till deposited during the Fraser Glaciation and is underlain by fluvial and marine sediments deposited during the preceding nonglacial interval.Quadra Sand was deposited progressively down the axis of the Georgia–Puget Lowland from source areas in the Coast Mountains to the north and northeast. The unit is markedly diachronous; it is older than 29 000 radiocarbon years at the north end of the Strait of Georgia, but is younger than 15 000 years at the south end of Puget Sound.Aggradation of the unit occurred during the climatic deterioration at the beginning of the Fraser Glaciation. Thick, well sorted sand was deposited in part as distal outwash aprons at successive positions in front of, and perhaps along the margins of, glaciers advancing from the Coast Mountains into the Georgia–Puget Lowland during late Wisconsin time.The sand thus provides a minimum age for the initial climatic change accompanying the Fraser Glaciation. This change apparently occurred before 28 800 y BP, substantially earlier than glacial occupation of the southern Interior Plateau of British Columbia. Thus, several thousand years may have intervened between the alpine and ice-sheet phases of the Fraser Glaciation.

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