Abstract

Shallow seismic reflection data collected in St. George's Bay, southwest Newfoundland, reveal a complex pattern of subsurface topography and acoustic facies. Two basins in the inner bay are underlain by glacially overdeepened valleys that extend to depths in excess of 180 m. Within the thick Quaternary sequence in the inner bay we recognize eight acoustic units. Units 1 (ice contact), 2 (subaqueous outwash), and 3 (draped glaciomarine) record the presence and retreat of a major Late Wisconsinan ice margin. Unit 4 (postglacial mud) has resulted from reworking of glaciogenic sediments in response to changes in relative sea level. Unit 5 (postglacial sand) is a shoreface deposit on the seaward front of the former moraine. Unit 6 (postglacial delta) was formed by fluvial reworking of glaciogenic sediments during the postglacial lowstand of relative sea level. Unit 7 (postglacial barrier–platform) comprises seaward-fining clinoform prisms that have prograded into the basins, and underlie gravel beach-ridge plains at Stephenville and Flat Island. Unit 8 (postglacial spillover) results from entrainment of coarse sediment on the shallow sill and subsequent progradation into the basins of the inner bay.Seabed sediment in the basins is mud where sampled. The submarine platforms associated with the barriers at Stephenville and Flat Island are largely sandy. The sill is covered by a gravel veneer, with irregular patches of sand that coalesce and thicken seawards. Extensive areas of gravel ripples testify to the continued mobility of much of the coarse sediment on the sill.A major ice front in the inner bay was present prior to 13.7 ka BP. The draped glaciomarine sediments, dated at 13.7–11.2 ka BP in nearby Port au Port Bay, were deposited after withdrawal of the ice front to the vicinity of the present coast, during a readvance, and subsequently. During the postglacial lowstand of relative sea level much of the present sill area was emergent.

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