Abstract

A sedimentary record from 60 km long Harrison Lake was constructed by using 3.5 kHz subbottom acoustic profiles and gravity cores of surface sediments. In places, the glaciolacustrine sediments exceed 70 m in thickness and represent the entire deglacial and postglacial accumulation record. An upper, acoustically transparent layer decreases in thickness from 12 to 4 m. southward from the upper lake. Cores from the upper metre of this layer demonstrate that deposition is dominated by settling of suspended sediment transported in a laterally mixed, wind-driven surface plume from the north. Depositional rates, inferred from 14C dating of organic macrofossils and counting of probable annual laminated couplets in the cores, are almost 2 mm/a in the north and decline to less than 0.1 mm/a in the south. Hence, the upper acoustic layer accounts for all postglacial (last 10 500 years BP) lacustrine deposition, with most of the sediment derived from Lillooet River. A lower, thicker (12–22 m), acoustically stratified layer is interpreted as high-energy glaciolacustrine deposits. This large volume of deglaciation sediment is derived from two sources: (i) ice retreating rapidly northwest up the Lillooet valley, which may have existed for no more than 400 years in the lower valley prior to opening of Lillooet Lake (which now traps most sediment derived from the upper basin); and (ii) inflow from the south as the late-glacial Fraser River rapidly built a delta north from the sill at Harrison Hot Springs. Despite known higher sea levels during deglaciation of the eastern Fraser Lowland, we have no evidence for a marine incursion.

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