Abstract

The geomorphology of the Eastern Canadian margin has been shaped by glacial processes during the Quaternary. Many studies have focused on the ice-sediment pathway through Hudson Strait to reconstruct the dynamics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, and as a consequence, little is known on its marginal ice domes. Here we reconstruct the dynamics of two trough mouth fans (TMFs) offshore NE Newfoundland using sediment cores and radiocarbon ages supported by very high resolution seismic reflection profiles. These two TMFs, namely Notre Dame and Hawke, are fed by two glacial troughs incised in the bedrock. The TMFs show a complete sedimentary sequence from 30 ka BP to the beginning of the Holocene. The sampled sedimentary record on the upper slope extends back to a thick Heinrich event 3 (H3) deposit that corresponds to the end of the maximum extent of the Newfoundland ice dome. Above H3, a thick succession of turbidite deposits (>10 m) observed in both TMFs is correlated with periods of major meltwater supply from 28–29 to 17 ka BP. Our results show that the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) period was characterized by major input of meltwater events stemming from the Newfoundland dome. The presence of H1 (~17 ka BP) coincide with the end of the turbidite activity which is replaced by an open-water environment characterized by hemipelagic sediments rich in ice-rafted debris. The proglacial muddy sediment older than 13.3 ka BP on the shelf shows that ice was not grounded after H1, suggesting a very rapid retreat of the ice on the Newfoundland shelf after 17 ka BP.

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