Abstract

On Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia), near the margin of the Wisconsinan ice sheet, karst depressions in Mississippian gypsum-bearing rocks contain interglacial and interstadial organic-rich deposits. Three palynostratigraphic units have been observed and tentatively dated by Th/U measurements on embedded fossil wood. The first, dated at ca. 125 ka, may be assigned to the oceanic 18O substage 5e; thermophilous forests (Quercus, Ostrya, Pinus strobus) developed in response to a climate warmer than the present. The second unit, rich in Abies balsamea pollen and dated at ca. 87 ka, may relate to the 18O substage 5a; it reflects a cool and wet climate not unlike that of today. The third unit probably spans part of the mid-Wisconsinan (18O stage 3); it shows alternating boreal forest-tundra forest assemblages indicative of climatic oscillations during a generally cold interval.

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