Abstract

Tasikutaaq Lake, on Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island, receives inflow and fine sediment from a 448 km2 drainage basin, 21% of which is glacier covered. During the summer of 1983 the lake remained essentially isothermal between about 4 and 6 °C. The suspended sediment concentration of inflow never exceeded 100 mg L−1 with overflow and homopycnal flow dominant.Surface sediments are clearly laminated, although varves are not apparent. The sediments are very fine, with less than 3% sand in all but the most proximal sites. Average sedimentation rates between 1976 and 1983 ranged from about 4 mm a−1 to 0.25 mm a−1 down lake from the point of inflow. The absence of varves is a function of the low rates of sediment accumulation and the long residence time of the fine sediments in the water column.Three sediment cores up to 135 cm in length reveal marked changes in sediment characteristics and diatom assemblages through the Holocene. During the late Foxe Glaciation it is likely that glacier ice contacted the lake, with retreat upvalley recorded by thinly varved (?) silts. By 7580 ± 140 BP ice had retreated to near its present margins. The earliest diatom assemblage in the cores is dominated by small Fragilaria spp., typical of late glacial, pioneering environments. Sedimentation rates during much of the Hypsithermal were about five times less than at present, with the resulting massive sediments having "nonglacial" characteristics despite the presence of glacial ice in the drainage basin. A planktonic diatom flora suggests that summer lake ice cover was minimal at this time. A climatic deterioration at about 4500 BP marks the onset of the Neoglacial, recorded by a shift in the diatom assemblage to species characteristic of more shallow water environments. Retreat from Neoglacial moraines is recorded by clearly laminated sediments and increasing accumulation rates. In general, laminated sediments relate to periods of high sediment input associated with glacial retreat, whereas massive sediments relate to low sediment input in association with glacial stabilization or advance.

You do not currently have access to this article.