Reconstructing Past Watershed and Ecosystem Development in the Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada
Conventionally, records of glacial activity over the Holocene period (~ the last 10,000 years) have been reconstructed by dating the terminal and lateral moraines of alpine glaciers (Grove 1988). This approach has yielded extensive information on the timing of glacial activity. However, one of the major limitations of moraine-based chronologies is their lack of continuity; at best they provide “snapshots” on the timing of glacial positions, occasionally with information on retreat phases. This problem is compounded in western Canada, as in many regions, by the fact that the most recent phase of glacial activity, commonly referred to as the Little Ice Age, was the most extensive glacial advance of the Holocene. Hence, as glaciers expanded to their Little Ice Age maxima, they over-rode, reworked, and destroyed evidence of previous events. The example presented here demonstrates how lake sediments from Kokwaskey Lake, located within the Kwoiek Creek watershed, Coast Mountains of British Columbia (50° N, 122.8° W; elevation 1,050 m), provide a solution to this problem.
KeywordsPhosphorus Sedimentation Geochemistry Holocene Crest
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