New marine evidence for a late Wisconsinan ice stream in Amundsen gulf, arctic Canada
Amundsen Gulf and adjoining Dolphin and Union Strait and Coronation Gulf form the southwestern end of the Northwest Passage adjacent to the Beaufort Sea. Extensive high resolution multibeam sonar imagery and sub-bottom profiles of the seabed have been acquired, primarily in Amundsen Gulf, by ArcticNet and the Ocean Mapping Group at the University of New Brunswick. These data reveal a variety of seabed landforms including mega-scale glacial ridge and groove lineations, drumlins, moraines, iceberg scours, bedrock outcrops, and discontinuous sediment deposits of variable thickness. The lineations are widespread, especially in southeastern Amundsen Gulf. They resemble modern and paleo bedforms reported from Antarctica, Svalbard, Greenland and other Canadian Arctic channels, where they have been ascribed to ice streams.
The glacial sole marks on the seabed in Amundsen Gulf and regional data from the adjacent mainland and islands outline the configuration of a glacial ice stream from the Laurentide Ice Sheet that occupied Amundsen Gulf and adjoining waterways during the Late Wisconsinan. Part of the northwestward flowing ice stream was deflected around the Colville Mountains on Victoria Island and rejoined the main ice stream in Amundsen Gulf by way of Prince Albert Sound. The grounded Amundsen Gulf ice stream extended northwestward to the outer slope in the Beaufort Sea where it was buttressed by Arctic Shelf Ice. Maximum ice stream extent is inferred to have been coincident with the Late Glacial Maximum. Multi-sequence ice-contact sediments and stratigraphic relations with glaciomarine sediments indicate that several ice advances and retreats occurred in the northwestern part of the gulf. Final retreat from the maximum position began prior to 13,000 cal yr BP and terrestrial dates indicate that the retreating ice front had reached Dolphin and Union Strait by about 12.5 cal ka BP.
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
Journal or Conference Title
Quaternary Science Reviews
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
MacLean, B., Blasco, S., Bennett, R., Lakeman, T., Hughes-Clarke, J., Kuus, P., Patton, E., 2015, New marine evidence for a late Wisconsinan ice stream in Amundsen gulf, arctic Canada: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 114, pp. 149 - 166