Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 239–255 | Cite as

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

  • Scott F. Lamoureux
  • Raymond S. Bradley
Article

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.

Key words

varves paleoclimate ice shelves arctic 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abbott, M. B., 1991. Radiocarbon dating and interpretation of sediments from five lake systems along Frobisher Bay, N.W.T., Canada. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Colorado, Boulder, 237 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Antevs E., 1951. Glacial clays in Steep Rock Lake, Ontario, Canada. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 62: 1223–1262.Google Scholar
  3. Bednarski J., 1986. Late Quaternary glacial and sea-level events, Clements Markham Inlet, Northern Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada. Can. J. Earth Sci. 23: 1343–1355.Google Scholar
  4. Bourgeois J. C., 1986. A pollen record from the Agassiz Ice Cap, Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada. Boreas 15: 345–354.Google Scholar
  5. Boygle J., 1993. The Swedish varve chronology — a review. Prog. Phys. Geog. 17: 1–19.Google Scholar
  6. Bradley R. S., 1990. Holocene paleoclimatology of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canadian High Arctic. Quat. Sci. Rev. 9: 365–384.Google Scholar
  7. Bradley R. S. & P. D. Jones, 1993. ‘Little Ice Age’ summer temperature variations: their nature and relevance to recent global warming trends. The Holocene 3: 367–376.Google Scholar
  8. Bradley R. S., M. J. Retelle, S. D. Ludlam, D. R. Hardy, B. Zolitschka and S. F. Lamoureux, 1996. The Taconite Inlet Lakes Project: A systems approach to paleoclimatic reconstruction. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 97–110.Google Scholar
  9. Clark J. S., 1988. Stratigraphic charcoal analysis on petrographic thin sections: application to fire history in Northwestern Minnesota. Quat. Res. 30: 81–91.Google Scholar
  10. Cromack M., 1991. Interpretation of laminated sediments from glacier-fed lakes, northwest Spitsbergen. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift 71: 129–132.Google Scholar
  11. De Geer G., 1912. A geochronology of the last 12 000 years. Eleventh International Geological Congress (1910), Stockholm, 1: 241–253.Google Scholar
  12. Desloges J. R., 1994. Varve deposition and the sediment record at three small lakes of the southern Canadian Cordillera. Arct. Alp. Res. 26: 130–140.Google Scholar
  13. Dominik J., J. Loizeau & D. Span, 1992. Radioisotopic evidence of perturbations of recent sedimentary record in lakes: a word of caution for climate studies. Climate Dynamics 6: 145–152.Google Scholar
  14. Doubleday, N., M. S. V. Douglas & J. P. Smol, 1994. Paleoenvironmental studies of black carbon deposition in the High Arctic: a case study from Northern Ellesmere Island. Proc. Iceland EPA Conference, in press.Google Scholar
  15. Douglas M. S. V., J. P. Smol & W. Blake Jr., 1994. Diatom evidence of post-18th century environmental change in High Arctic ecosystems. Science 266: 416–419.Google Scholar
  16. Douglas M. S. V., S. Ludlam & S. Feeney, 1996. Changes in diatom assemblages in Lake C2: response to basin isolation from the sea and to environmental changes. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 217–226.Google Scholar
  17. Evans, D. J. A., 1988. Glacial geomorphology and Late Quaternary history of Philips Inlet and the Wooton Peninsula, North-west Ellesmere Island, Canada, Ph.D Dissertation, University of Alberta, Canada, 281 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Fritts H. C., 1976. Tree Rings and Climate. Academic Press, New York, 567 pp.Google Scholar
  19. Hardy D. R., 1996. Climatic influences on streamflow and sediment flux into Lake C2, Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 133–149.Google Scholar
  20. Hardy D. R., R. S. Bradley, & B. Zolitschka, 1996. The climatic signal in varved sediments from Lake C2, Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 227–238.Google Scholar
  21. Hughen K., J. T. Overpeck, R. Anderson & K. Williams, 1995. Paleoclimate records from varved Arctic lake sediments: Baffin Island, Eastern Canadian Arctic. In: Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoceanography from Laminated Sediments (A. Kemp, ed.), Special Publications of the Geological Society, London, in press.Google Scholar
  22. Jeffries M. O., 1992. Arctic ice shelves and ice islands: origin, growth and disintegration, physical characteristics, structural-stratigraphic variability, and dynamics. Rev. Geophys. 30: 245–267.Google Scholar
  23. Jeffries M. O. & H. R. Krouse, 1984: Arctic ice shelf growth, fiord oceanography and climate. Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde and Glazialgeologie 20: 147–153.Google Scholar
  24. Koerner R. M. & W. S. B. Paterson, 1974. Analysis of a core through the Meighen Ice Cap, Arctic Canada, and its paleoclimatic implications. Quat. Res. 4: 253–253.Google Scholar
  25. Koerner R. M. & D. A. Fisher, 1990. A record of Holocene summer climate from a Canadian high-Arctic ice core. Nature 343: 630–631.Google Scholar
  26. Lamoureux S. F., 1994a. Embedding unfrozen lake sediments. J. Paleolimnol. 10: 141–146.Google Scholar
  27. Lamoureux, S. F., 1994b. Paleoclimatic Reconstruction from Varved Lake Sediments, Lake C2, Ellesmere Island, Canada. Unpublished MS. Thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 170 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Leemann A. & F. Niessen, 1994. Varve formation and the climatic record in an Alpine proglacial lake: calibrating annually-laminated sediments against hydrological and meteorological data. The Holocene 4: 1–8.Google Scholar
  29. Lemmen D. S., 1990. Glaciomarine sedimentation in Disraeli Fiord, High Arctic Canada. Mar. Geol. 94: 9–22.Google Scholar
  30. Lemmen D. S., R. Gilbert, J. P. Smol & R. I. Hall, 1988. Holocene sedimentation in glacial Tasikutaaq Lake, Baffin Island. Can. J. Earth Sci. 25: 810–823.Google Scholar
  31. Leonard E. M., 1985. Glaciological and climatic controls on lake sedimentation, Canadian Rocky Mountains. Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie 21: 35–42.Google Scholar
  32. Leonard E. M., 1986. Varve studies at Hector Lake, Alberta, Canada, and the relationship between glacial activity and sedimentation. Quat. Res. 25: 199–214.Google Scholar
  33. Ludlam S. D., 1996a. The comparative limnology of High Arctic, coastal meromictic lakes. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 111–131.Google Scholar
  34. Ludlam S. D., 1996b. Stratification patterns in the eastern arm of Taconite Inlet, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 205–215.Google Scholar
  35. Ludlam S. D., S. Feeney and M. S. V. Douglas, 1996. Changes in the importance of lotic and littoral diatoms in a high arctic lake over the last 191 years. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 187–204.Google Scholar
  36. Lyons J. B. & J. E. Mielke, 1973. Holocene history of a portion of Northernmost Ellesmere Island. Arctic 26: 314–323.Google Scholar
  37. Mayewski P. A., L. D. Meeker, M. C. Morrison, M. S. Twickler, S. I. Whitlow, K. K. Ferland, D. A. Meese, M. R. Legrand & J. P. Steffensen, 1993. Greenland ice core ‘signal’ characteristics: an expanded view of climate change. J. Geophys. Res. 98 (D7): 12 839–12 847.Google Scholar
  38. O'Sullivan P. E., 1983. Annually-laminated lake sediments and the study of Quaternary environmental changes — a review. Quat. Sci. Rev. 1: 245–313.Google Scholar
  39. Overpeck, J. & W. Wagner, 1990. Embedding lake sediments in epoxy. Unpublished manuscript, 4 pp.Google Scholar
  40. Paterson W. S. B., R. M. Koerner, D. Fisher, S. J. Johnsen, H. B. Clausen, W. Dansgaard, P. Bucher & H. Oeschger, 1977. An oxygen-isotope climatic record from the Devon Island ice cap, arctic Canada. Nature 266: 508–511.Google Scholar
  41. Perkins J. A. & J. D. Sims, 1983. Correlation of Alaskan varve thickness with climatic parameters, and use in paleoclimatic reconstruction. Quat. Res. 20: 308–321.Google Scholar
  42. Reasoner M. A., 1993. Equipment and procedure improvements for a lightweight, inexpensive, percussion core sampling system. J. Paleolimnol 8: 273–281.Google Scholar
  43. Retelle M. J., 1986. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of coastal lacustrine basins, northeastern Ellesmere Island, N.W.T.. Geographie Phys. Quat. 40: 117–128.Google Scholar
  44. Retelle M. J. & J. Child, 1996. Suspended sediment transport and deposition in a High Arctic meromictic lake, Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 151–167.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, N. D. & G. Ashley, 1985. Proglacial lacustrine environment. In G. M. Ashley, J. Shaw & N. D. Smith (eds), Glacial sedimentary environments, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Short Course No. 16, Tulsa, 135–175.Google Scholar
  46. Soutar A. & P. A. Crill, 1977. Sedimentation and climatic patterns in the Santa Barbara Basin during the 19th and 20th centuries. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 88: 1161–1172.Google Scholar
  47. Sprowl, D. R., 1993. On the precision of the Elk Lake varve chronology. In J. P. Bradbury & W. E. Dean (eds), Elk Lake, Minnesota: Evidence for rapid climate change in the North-Central United States, Geological Society of America Special Paper 276: 69–74.Google Scholar
  48. Stewart T. G. & J. England, 1983. Holocene sea-ice variations and paleoenvironmental change Northernmost Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada. Arct. Alp. Res. 15: 1–17.Google Scholar
  49. Stihler S. D., D. B. Stone & J. E. Beget, 1992. ‘Varve’ counting vs. tephrochronology and 137Cs and 210Pb dating: a comparative test at Skilak Lake, Alaska. Geology 20: 1019–1022.Google Scholar
  50. Sutherland, P. D., 1992. Environmental change and prehistory in Arctic Canada. In M. K. Woo & D. J. Gregor (eds), Arctic environment: past, present and future, McMaster University: 139–153.Google Scholar
  51. Trettin, H. P., 1989. Pre-Carboniferous geology, M'Clintock Inlet map-area, Northern Ellesmere Island, interim report and map. Geological Survey of Canada Open File 1652.Google Scholar
  52. Zolitschka B., 1996. Processes of recent sedimentation in a High Arctic lake, Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada. J. Paleolimnol. 16: 169–186.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott F. Lamoureux
    • 1
  • Raymond S. Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeographyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations