Abstract

The Holocene and late glacial history of fluctuations of Stutfield Glacier are reconstructed using moraine stratigraphy, tephrochronology, and dendroglaciology. Stratigraphic sections in the lateral moraines contain tills from at least three glacier advances separated by volcanic tephras and paleosols. The oldest, pre-Mazama till is correlated with the Crowfoot Advance (dated elsewhere to be Younger Dryas equivalent). A Neoglacial till is found between the Mazama tephra and a paleosol developed on the Bridge River tephra. A log dating 2400 BP from the upper part of this till indicates that this glacier advance, correlated with the Peyto Advance, culminated shortly before deposition of the Bridge River tephra. Radiocarbon and tree-ring dates from overridden trees exposed in moraine sections indicate that the initial Cavell (Little Ice Age (LIA)) Advance overrode this paleosol and trees after A.D. 1271. Three subsequent phases of the Cavell Advance were dated by dendrochronology. The maximum glacier extent occurred in the mid-18th century, predating 1743 on the southern lateral, although ice still occupied and tilted a tree on the north lateral in 1758. Subsequent glacier advances occurred ca. 1800–1816 and in the late 19th century. The relative extent of the LIA advances at Stutfield differs from that of other major eastward flowing outlets of the Columbia Icefield, which have maxima in the mid-late 19th century. This is the first study from the Canadian Rockies to demonstrate that the large, morphologically simple, lateral moraines defining the LIA glacier limits are actually composite features, built up progressively (but discontinuously) over the Holocene and contain evidence of multiple Holocene- and Crowfoot-age glacier advances.

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