Abstract

The Little Bear River section lies in a transition zone between Mackenzie Lowland and Canyon Ranges of Mackenzie Mountains. Within the transition zone, the maximum extent of the Laurentide ice sheet overlaps the former extent of montane glaciers that emanated from the higher parts of Canyon Ranges or from the still higher Backbone Ranges to the southwest. Five montane tills, each with a paleosol developed in its upper part, indicate five separate glaciations during each of which a valley glacier emanating from the headwaters of Little Bear River extended eastward into the transition zone. The uppermost of the montane tills is overlain by boulder gravel containing rocks of Canadian Shield origin deposited by the Laurentide ice sheet.Solum and B horizon depths, red colours, and lack of leaching and cryoturbation indicate that although each successive interglacial interval was cooler than the preceding one, even the last of the intervals was warmer than the Holocene. Climatic conditions during one of the intervals inferred from the paleobotanic data, particularly spruce forest development, are consistent with conditions inferred from the associated paleosol.The uppermost of the montane tills is thought to correlate with till of Reid (Illinoian) age in central Yukon. The paleosol developed on that till is, accordingly, thought to correlate with the Diversion Creek paleosol developed on drift of Reid age. The Laurentide boulder gravel is assigned to a stade of Hungry Creek Glaciation of Late Wisconsinan age. The Laurentide ice sheet reached its apparent all-time western limit during the Hungry Creek Glaciation maximum.

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