Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 159–173 | Cite as

1750 years of large rainfall events inferred from particle size at East Lake, Cape Bounty, Melville Island, Canada

  • François Lapointe
  • Pierre Francus
  • Scott F. Lamoureux
  • Meriem Saïd
  • Stéphanie Cuven
Original Paper


Annual grain-size variation was measured on the varved (annually laminated) lacustrine sediment from Cape Bounty East Lake using an innovative image analysis system. About 7100 images were acquired using a scanning electron microscope and processed to obtain measurement of particles from 2845 varves. Several particle-size distributions indices were calculated and can be linked to high-energy sedimentary facies. Moreover, the coarse grain size (98th percentile) of these high-energy facies is strongly correlated with summer rainfall (and also summer temperature) of instrumental data from nearby stations. Particle-size distributions show a similar trend through time, especially for the standard deviation and the 98th percentile. Climatic reconstruction suggests that Cape Bounty recently experienced an unprecedented increase of rainfall events since ~AD 1920. On the other hand, changes in varve thickness are weakly correlated with the particle-size distribution. Altogether, these results highlight the need to obtain annual grain-size data to identify a meteorological signal.


Varves Scanning electron microscope Image analysis Grain size Paleoclimate High-Arctic 



This work was supported by the Canadian Federal program for the international polar year (IPY) and by research grant of NSERC to Pierre Francus and Scott Lamoureux. Logistical support was provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project, Natural Resources Canada (PCSP). Special thanks to David Fortin and Anna Pienkowski-Furze for core processing. Thanks to Arnaud De Coninck for help with the SEM and Laurence Provencher-Nolet for image analysis. The authors are grateful for the suggestions of Antti Ojala, the editorial comments of Darrell Kaufman and helpful input of two anonymous reviewers.

Supplementary material

10933_2012_9611_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1,714 kb)
10933_2012_9611_MOESM2_ESM.xls (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLS 1,131 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Lapointe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre Francus
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott F. Lamoureux
    • 3
  • Meriem Saïd
    • 4
  • Stéphanie Cuven
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut National de la Recherche ScientifiqueCentre Eau Terre et EnvironnementQuébecCanada
  2. 2.GEOTOPGeochemistry and Geodynamics Research CenterMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of GeographyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  4. 4.Département de Mathématiques et StatistiqueUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  5. 5.GEOLABCentre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueClermont Ferrand Cedex 1France

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