, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 239-255

A late Holocene varved sediment record of environmental change from northern Ellesmere Island, Canada

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Abstract

A composite record of varve sedimentation is presented from high arctic meromictic Lake C2. The combination of a short runoff and sediment transport season with the strong density stratification of the lake lead to the formation of annual sediment couplets. This conclusion was confirmed by 210Pb determinations. High intra-lake correlation of the varves allowed the construction of a composite record of varve sedimentation from overlapping segments of multiple sediment cores. Cross-dating between core segments isolated counting errors in individual cores, that could be attributed to minor sediment disturbances and vague structures. Resolving counting errors by cross-dating reduced the chronological error of the composite series to an estimated ±57 years.

The Lake C2 series is the first non-ice cap, high resolution late-Holocene environmental record from the Canadian high arctic. The composite varve series compares favorably with other high resolution proxies from the arctic, in particular with the ice core records from Devon Island and Camp Century, Greenland. A general correspondence between the varve record and other North American proxies for the little Ice Age period (1400–1900 AD) suggests that the Lake C2 record is sensitive to large-scale synoptic changes.

This is the tenth in a series of papers published in this issue on the Taconite Inlet Lakes Project. These papers were collected by Dr R. S. Bradley.