Abstract

Squamish River has been impounded temporarily by debris avalanches from Mount Cayley on numerous occasions. Evidence of these impoundments comes from backwater deposits and also from a cluster of in situ stumps protruding from a bar along Squamish River. Backwater deposits consist of both lacustrine and fluvial deposits that have formed within the low-energy depositional environment created by a river impoundment. Three main backwater deposits occur in the study area. The fan toe deposit is ~14 m thick and represents a single impoundment of Squamish River that likely formed behind a large ~4800 BP debris avalanche. In situ ~3200 BP stumps along Squamish River probably were killed by a river impoundment due to a debris avalanche. The upper terrace backwater deposit is ~6 m thick and forms an aggradational terrace along Squamish River which probably accumulated behind an ~1100 BP debris avalanche. The lower terrace deposit also forms an aggradational terrace along Squamish River but represents four or possibly five separate impoundments. These occurred between ~1100 BP and 1955 AD, and it seems likely that one of the deposits relates to an ~500 BP debris avalanche. Seven or eight Holocene impoundments of Squamish River have been identified in the study area.

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