Abstract

Lotbinière Sand and Deschaillons Varves are indicators of the drainage pattern of the St. Lawrence watershed, which presumably occurred during the Late Sangamonian (5c and 5c–5b transition?). The pollen content of the Lotbinière Sand suggests there was a Picea marianaBetulaPinus boreal forest in the valley. In the lowermost zone of the Deschaillons Varves, the pollen is very abundant: the boreal forest was progressively flooded by Lake Deschaillons. Above this zone, the vegetation seems to evolve toward a Picea and Betula open forest. The pollen of the upper contorted varves was presumably reworked from older material or transported from remote sources. The following paleoenvironmental sequence is reconstructed in the St. Lawrence Valley: (i) lowering of the relative drainage level, as indicated by the erosional disconformity in lower rythmites; this phase, of unknown duration, is ascribed to an eustatic lowering related to a global climatic cooling; (ii) an aggradation phase, as indicated by the Lotbinière Sand, before and at the beginning of a glacial damming in the middle estuary; (iii) progressive flooding of the valley and its boreal forest as ice caps are present on adjacent Laurentian and Appalachian highlands; (iv) expansion of Lake Deschaillons, limited by the Glens Falls sill, New York. The relative elevation of the lake was at least 56 m. Great Lakes and upper St. Lawrence River drainage system was probably deflected to the Hudson River. According to the number of varves, the regional ice caps preceded the general invasion by Laurentide Ice Sheet of approximatively 3800 years.

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