Abstract

Lac Guillaume-Delisle Estuary and Nastapoka Sound are two sedimentary basins that recorded the late Quaternary deglaciation on the eastern coast of Hudson Bay. Acoustic profiles reveal an average sediments thickness of 15 m in the estuary and 6 m in the sound. These sediments reach 70 m thick in deep glacial troughs. Within the studied basins, four seismo-stratigraphic units overlying the acoustic basement were recognized. Unit 1 (subaqueous ice-contact and draped glaciomarine deposits associated with the Quebec–Labrador Ice Sector (QLIS) of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) and the Tyrrell Sea) records the presence of a short ice-marginal stillstand during glacial retreat. Unit 2 (paraglacial and postglacial fluvial-deltaic deposits) and unit 3 (postglacial silty deposits) result from erosion of emerged sediments and redeposition in response to changes in relative sea level (RSL). Finally, unit 4 is composed of deformed deposits associated with a mass wasting event. The stratigraphic sequence and the spatial distribution patterns of deposits show that Lac Guillaume-Delisle is a good model to explain the dynamics of the QLIS margin during and after successive ice stillstands, continuous RSL fall, river discharge (ablation on land), and its final ablation inland. Additionally, seven cores were sampled in the southeast part of the estuary. Geochemical (organic carbon and total nitrogen) and carbon isotopic contents, used as alternative proxy, indicate that the sampled sediments correspond to the postglacial estuarine deposits of unit 3. Allochthonous sources of carbon dominate the supply to the sediments where the environment is regularly flushed by fresh and marine waters.

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