Abstract

A study of the stratigraphic sequence (14C and amino acid age control), marine bivalve faunal changes, and palynology of buried soils and organic-rich sediment collected from the Clyde Foreland Formation in the extensive cliff sections of the Clyde foreland, eastern Baffin Island, N.W.T., suggests the following last interglacial – Foxe (last glaciation) glacial – present interglacial sequence.(1) Cape Christian Member (ca. 130 000 years BP?)Consists of the Sledgepointer till overlain by the Cape Christian marine sediments. In situ molluscan fauna, collected from the marine sediments, contain a moderately warm bivalve assemblage. A well-developed soil that formed on the marine sediments (Cape Christian soil) contains an interglacial pollen assemblage dominated by dwarf birch. U-series dates of > 115 000 and ca. 130 000 years BP on molluscs from the Cape Christian marine sediments suggest that they were deposited during the last interglaciation, here termed the Cape Christian Interglaciation. The development of a subarctic pollen assemblage in the Cape Christian soil has not been duplicated during the present interglaciation, suggesting higher summer temperatures and perhaps a duration well in excess of 10 000 years for the last interglaciation.(2) Kuvinilk MemberConsists of fossiliferous marine sediments, locally divided by the Clyde till into upper and lower units. The Clyde till was deposited by the earliest and most extensive advance of the Foxe (last) Glaciation. Kuvinilk marine sediments both under- and overlying the Clyde till contain the pecten Chlamys islandicus, indicating that the outlet glacier advanced into a subarctic marine environment. Amino acid ratios from in situ pelecypod shells abovę and below the Clyde till are not statistically different, but contrast markedly with ratios obtained from the same species in the Cape Christian Member. Organic horizons within the Kuvinilk marine sediments contain a relatively rich pollen assemblage, although 'absolute' counts are low.(3) Kogalu Member (> 35 00014C years BP)Sediments of the Kogalu Member unconformably overlie those of the Kuvinilk Member, but are of a similar character. The dominant sediments are marine in origin, but in places are divided into upper and lower units by the Ayr Lake till. Amino acid ratios from in situ shells above and below the Ayr Lake till are indistinguishable, but substantially less than those in the Kuvinilk Member, suggesting the two members are separated by a considerable time interval. Radiocarbon dates on shells in the Kogalu marine sediments range from 33 000 to 47 700 years BP, but these may be only minimum estimates. The sea transgressed to a maximum level 70–80 m asl, coincident with the glacial maximum. Subarctic marine fauna of interstadial–interglacial character occur within the Kogalu marine sediments.(4) Eglinton Member (10 000 years BP to present)A major unconformity exists between the Kogalu and Eglinton Members. Ravenscraig marine sediments were deposited during an early Holocene marine transgression–regression cycle; the oldest dates on these sediments are ca. 10 000 years BP. Locally a vegetation mat occurs at the base or within the Ravenscraig unit. Pollen from these beds is sparse, but indicates a terrestrial vegetation assemblage as diverse as that of today. There is no evidence that Laurentide Ice reached the foreland during the last 30 000 years. Eolian sands that overlie a soil developed on the marine sediments record a late Holocene climatic deterioration. Pollen in organic-rich sediments at the base of, and within, the eolian sands record a vegetation shift in response to climatic change.

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