Abstract

Layers of ice-rafted, limestone debris rich sediment were deposited in the northwest Labrador Sea and the North Atlantic during the last glacial period (10-80 ka); these sediments were deposited by Heinrich events (H), events which record catastrophic collapses of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the region of the Hudson Strait. These intervals of detrital carbonate rich sediments are referred to as detrital carbonate layers (DC) in the northwest Labrador Sea. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dates provide a strong constraint on the timing for these events; H-1 = DC-1 and H-2 = DC-2. DC-0, also known as H-0, correlative to the Younger Dryas cooling event, is not as distinct a sediment unit in the northwest Labrador Sea as DC-1 and DC-2. An analysis of sediments from two cores (HU75009-IV-055 and HU75009-IV-056) off the mouth of the Hudson Strait in the northwest Labrador Sea basin sheds new light on the "missing" DC-0 sediment unit. Timing for the DC-0 event in cores 055 and 056 is bracketed between 11.3 ka ± 105 years and 10.4 ka ± 185 years based on AMS 14C dates. Sedimentology of the DC-0 unit reveals a sediment layer rich in ice-rafted debris with an increase in percentage of dolomite (representative material <2 mm), clay-size dolomite, and kaolinite; it is significantly different from DC-1 and DC-2 in the same analyzed cores. For example, the percent carbonate increase in DC-1 and DC-2 is approximately three to four times higher than that in DC-0. In addition, DC-1 and DC-2 show clear evidence for mass sediment transport processes which are not observed in DC-0. From these data, the DC-0 sediment unit in the northwest Labrador Sea records Cumberland Sound ice margin change and, for reasons addressed in this paper, the Hudson Strait does not play a major role in the deposition of DC-0 sediments at these core sites. Provenance indicators, such as kaolinite and dolomite, from the core study sediments corroborate this hypothesis. These results provide strong evidence for Cumberland Sound ice margin activity and sediment contribution during DC events, specifically DC-0, and additional evidence for multiple and synchronous ice margin change along the eastern Laurentide ice margin during the Late Wisconsinan, thus further supporting an atmospheric forcing mechanism for Late Wisconsinan ice sheet change.

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