Abstract

Thick valley-fill sediments in the vicinity of Williams Lake, British Columbia, provide a detailed record of the late Quaternary history of an area near the centre of the former Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Stratigraphic units assigned to the late Wisconsinan Fraser Glaciation, the preceding (penultimate) glaciation, and the present interglaciation are described. Especially noteworthy are (1) thick units of sand and gravel deposited by braided streams, perhaps during periods of ice-sheet growth; and (2) complex glaciolacustrine sediments that accumulated in ice-dammed lakes during periods of deglaciation.Glaciers from the Coast and Cariboo mountains coalesced and flowed north over central British Columbia during late Wisconsinan time. Fraser Glaciation advance sediments and older Pleistocene deposits were partially removed by this ice sheet, and the eroded remnants were mantled with till. At the end of the Fraser Glaciation, the Cordilleran Ice Sheet downwasted and retreated southward along an irregular front across the study area. Parts of the ice sheet stagnated and disintegrated into tongues confined to valleys. Sediment carried by melt streams flowing from decaying ice masses was deposited in glacial lakes, in stream channels, and on floodplains.

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