Abstract

Scimitar Glacier originates below the northeast face of Mt. Waddington in the southern British Columbia Coast Mountains and flows 18 km down valley to calve into a proglacial lake. At several locations, downwasting of the glacier surface has exposed stacked till units separated by wood-bearing horizons in the proximal slopes of lateral moraines flanking the glacier. Historical moraine collapse and erosional breaching has also revealed the remains of standing trees buried in moraine-dammed lake sediments. Radiocarbon and tree-ring dating show that Scimitar Glacier expanded down valley at least three times in the late Holocene. The earliest evidence found for ice expansion indicates Scimitar Glacier was advancing in 3167–2737 cal years BP in association with the regional Tiedemann Advance. Following this advance, the glacier downwasted prior to expanding in 1568–1412 cal years BP during the First Millennial Advance. A final period phase of moraine construction was initiated during late Little Ice Age glacial expansion before A.D. 1742 and extended until at least A.D. 1851, after which Scimitar Glacier began to recede and downwaste. This record is comparable to that recorded at other glaciers in the southern British Columbia Coast Mountains and confirms the long-term relationship between regional climate trends and glacier behaviour in this setting.

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