Abstract

Mineralogical studies of river sediments from the Hudson Bay and James Bay Lowlands suggest that the glacial erosion of pre-Devonian Paleozoic carbonate rocks played an important role in the production of calcite-enriched debris in the Cape Henrietta Maria watershed. Ice flowing southwesterly across Devonian basins in western Hudson Bay and the James Bay Lowlands would largely bypass the intervening cape area.Enrichment of iron in river sands of the cape watershed is attributed to Proterozoic ferruginous sources now largely submerged under the waters of eastern Hudson Bay. Distributional patterns of carbonates and iron indicate that the dominant flow of ice from eastern Hudson Bay was southwesterly toward Cape Henrietta Maria, without major flow from the area of Proterozoic bedrock into the Nelson River watershed. In the cape area, iron enrichment due to Proterozoic sources significantly overshadows possible contributions from siderite-bearing Devonian bedrock.The fluvial sediment data are consistent with a multiple dome model of glaciation with ice mass centres located east and west of Hudson Bay. However, quartz/(total carbonate) ratios indicate that, if independent ice masses existed in this configuration, the dominant position of their contact should be placed north of the Churchill–Nelson watershed boundary. Indications of K-feldspar enrichment in Churchill sands are not evident in cape localities where ice flow was southwesterly.Rivers sands are composite channel samples of a drift cover that includes several pre-Wisconsinan tills as well as Wisconsinan deposits. Well defined regional patterns of composite (fluvial) sediment composition suggest a consistency in dominant regional ice movements through time. Similarities between regional drift dispersal limits based on these composite sediments and on pebble dispersal patterns for Wisconsinan tills further indicate that dominant ice-flow patterns in central Canada were probably similar for Wisconsinan and earlier glaciations.

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