Abstract

A paleosol with in situ rooted plant remains has been found in a core at a water depth of 95 m on the central continental shelf of British Columbia. Fluvial sediments associated with the paleosol are sharply overlain by lagoonal or shallow pond sediments; these, in turn, are overlain by shallow-marine ediments. Radiocarbon dates on wood fragments and root recovered from the cored sediments indicate that relative sea level was at least 95 m lower 10,500 yr B.P. and that the core site was rapidly transgressed by the sea shortly thereafter. This rapid transgression was contemporaneous with an equally rapid regression at the heads of fiords on the British Columbia mainland to the east. The two are probably genetically linked and a result of late Pleistocene deglaciation and the migration and collapse of a glacial forebulge. Our evidence indicates that large areas of the British Columbia continental shelf were subaerially exposed 11-10 ka. This may have facilitated the southward migration of early humans from Beringia into mid-continental North America at the end of the Pleistocene.

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