Abstract

The Cape Dyer area of easternmost Baffin Island was isolated from the Laurentide Ice Sheet by the fiords of Cumberland Peninsula. Accordingly, the glacial chronology at Cape Dyer is that of local ice only and is indicative of the local climate throughout the late Quaternary. Six drift units, representing three periods of restricted glaciation and three of expanded glaciation, are present. Beyond the most distal drift is an area that has not been modified by glaciation.The expanded glaciations were dated through correlation on the bases of moraine morphology, soil development, and amino-acid racemization in marine mollusc shells incorporated in the drifts. No maximum age can be assigned to the earliest glaciation in the Cape Dyer area, but the last major glacial advance occurred about 70 000 years BP. The presence of extensive glaciofluvial features, faunal indicators of warm ocean water, and rapid soil development indicate that major glaciations of the Cape Dyer area accompanied winters warmer than at present but summers sufficiently cool to allow ice advance.The restricted ice advances were dated through correlation on the bases of moraine morphology, soil development, and lichen cover to the period between 9000 years BP and the present. They indicate ice extent similar to or less than at present throughout the past 60 000 years, in response to climatic conditions that were colder and dryer than the present until 9000 years BP, then slightly warmer than the present.Correlation with indicators of hemispheric and global climate indicates both in-phase and out-of-phase relationships. Glaciations at Cape Dyer are in phase with periods of high accumulation on Arctic ice caps, ice rafting of sediment in the Labrador Sea, and computed summer-insolation minima – winter-insolation maxima at 65°N latitude. This is as would be expected given the climatic interpretations of the drifts. Glaciation of the Cape Dyer area is out of phase with global ice volume as indicated by oxygen isotopes, suggesting the Antarctic dry valleys as a modem climatic analog for the Pleistocene eastern Canadian Arctic. The record of ice extent, climatic interpretations, and proposed model for climatic change are in agreement with most previously published reconstructions.

You do not currently have access to this article.