Abstract

The Holocene sedimentary environment of Cambridge Fiord in northeastern Baffin Island is interpreted from six piston cores. Distinct sediment types represent three sedimentary processes. (1) Muds deposited from suspension from fluvial sources at the fiord head and glacial sources near the mouth are the dominant components of the sediments. The rate of accumulation in mid-fiord based on a radiocarbon date on dispersed organic material indicates an average rate of sedimentation of 1.24 mm/a since about 5800 BP. Upper portions of the cores are bioturbated, although bands of well-preserved fine rhythmites indicate the sudden loss of the benthos, perhaps caused by oxygen depletion associated with reduced circulation. Rhythmites near the sediment surface have a mean thickness similar to the calculated annual accumulation, indicating that they probably are varves; those at depth average 8.1 mm thick. Fine sediment at depth in several cores was not bioturbated for long periods, indicating reduced effectiveness of the benthos during periods of higher rates of sedimentation. Graded muds and sandy muds are interpreted as deposits from weak underflows generated in the sediments on the fiord walls. (2) Massive sands deposited near the head of the fiord are the result of cohesionless debris flows from sources of fluvial and littoral sand widely distributed along the fiord floor. (3) Single sand- and pebble-sized particles found everywhere in the muds are interpreted as ice-rafted debris.

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