Abstract

Some of the most extensive and massive end moraines of Younger Dryas age (11–10 14C ka BP) yet recognized in North America occur on Wollaston Peninsula of Victoria Island. On the western part of the peninsula, numerous closely spaced end moraines formed in the interval starting 11 100 ± 100 radiocarbon years ago and ending about 10 500–10 200 years ago. Net recession was generally slow throughout and was punctuated by moraine-building and at least two readvances. Recession is mapped with a resolution that is approximately decadal. The moraines form an orderly, nested succession and are consistently associated with westward shedding of meltwater, which formed a sequence of marine-limit deltas. We lack firm, independent proxy-climate evidence needed to assess whether these moraines formed because of cold Younger Dryas climate, rather than because of controls such as topographic setting and water depth, but climatic control seems probable. The moraines evidently retain glacier ice cores, as do most similarly large moraines in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and northern mainland. They formed along active ice margins when the glacier mass balance on average was only slightly negative. Future melting of ice cores would produce regional hummocky moraine and much basal meltout till more than 10 000 years after deglaciation. Some southern areas of hummocky moraine may have originated as ice-cored moraines formed by active ice margins rather than from extensive regional stagnation.

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