Abstract

Tide Lake was the largest glacier-dammed lake in British Columbia before its demise in the early twentieth century. Situated in the northern Coast Mountains, the lake was impounded by Frank Mackie Glacier and its Neoglacial end moraine. A study of Tide Lake has provided information on styles of glaciolacustrine sedimentation and the chronology of the Neoglacial interval.Much of the sediment underlying the floor of Tide Lake was transported by subglacial and proglacial meltwater streams flowing from nearby glaciers. During the last phase of the lake, large subaqueous fans were built in front of Berendon and Frank Mackie glaciers, and deltas formed on the east side of the basin. Rhythmically bedded fine sediments, which cover much of the lake floor but are almost completely lacking on the slopes above, were deposited from underflows originating on deltas and subaqueous fans and by fallout from interflows and overflows.Three major and one minor lake phases are recognized from stratigraphic, geomorphic, radiocarbon, and dendrochronological data: the earliest phase is undated, but older than 3000 BP (1300 B.C.); the second phase has yielded radiocarbon ages of 2600–2700 BP (800–1000 B.C.); a third, minor phase, during which Tide Lake was restricted to the northern part of the basin, began before 1600 BP (A.D. 350–550) and probably ended a few hundred years later; the last phase may have begun as early as 1000 BP (A.D. 1000–1150), peaked in the seventeenth century, and ended in the early twentieth century. During each of the four phases, Tide Lake fluctuated in a complex fashion and at times was empty. The second phase corresponds to a widely recognized middle Neoglacial advance in western North America; the last phase is coincident with the Little Ice Age. Outburst floods from Tide Lake in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries devastated Bowser River valley as far downstream as Bowser Lake. The last of the floods occurred around A.D. 1930 when the Frank Mackie moraine was breached and the lake emptied for the last time.

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