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TitleWisconsinan glaciation of the Atlantic continental shelf of southeast Canada
AuthorKing, L H; Fader, G B J
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 363, 1986, 72 pages (2 sheets), (Open Access)
PublisherGeological Survey of Canada
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNova Scotia; New Brunswick; Prince Edward Island; Eastern offshore region; Newfoundland and Labrador
NTS1K; 1L; 1M; 1N; 2C; 2D; 10N; 10O; 11B; 11C; 11D; 11E; 11F; 11G; 11J; 11K; 11L; 20O; 20P; 21A; 21B; 21F; 21G; 21H; 21I; 21J; 21K
AreaScotian Shelf; Grand Banks
Lat/Long WENS-56.0000 -44.0000 49.0000 43.0000
Lat/Long WENS-70.0000 -58.0000 47.0000 41.0000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; geophysics; marine geology; bedrock geology; clays; glaciomarine deposits; silts; tills; drift deposits; glaciation; glaciomarine deposits; continental shelf; seismic surveys, marine; core descriptions; depositional environment; facies; moraines; Scotian Shelf Drift; Emerald Silt; Sambro Sand; Lahave Clay; Sable Island Gravel; Sable Island Sand; Quaternary
Illustrationslocation maps; columnar sections; cross-sections; models
Released1986 08 01; 2015 11 09
AbstractOn the Scotian Shelf, eastern Gulf of Maine, and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, the surficial succession occurs as a thin blanket (approximately 50m thick) across the submerged coastal plain surface, and is composed of five formations: Scotian Shelf Drift (glacial till), Emerald Silt ( glaciomarine), Sam bro Sand, LaHave Clay, and Sable Island Sand and Gravel. The Scotian Shelf Drift was derived from sub glacial meltoul debris from a neutral to negatively buoyant active ice shelf in direct contact with the seabed. Emerald Silt formed from subglacial meltout debris from a pinned but floating ice shelf. The debris is thought to have settled through a water column of variable thickness to form the conformable, rhythmically banded deposits which mimic a highly irregular substrate which is recognized over very broad areas. Horizontal migration of the ice-seabed contact (buoyancy line), induced by changes in ice thickness and changes in relative sea level, leads to the development of thick regional moraines (regional subglacial ice shelf moraines) interbedded with the glaciomarine deposits. Wedge-shaped till deposits (till tongues) are often formed at the distal side of the moraines through advance and subsequent retreat of the buoyancy line. The configuration of the seabed beneath an ice shelf is another important factor in the stratigraphic development of these marine deposits. We have used the Carey and Ahmad ice model as an aid in interpreting the seismostratigraphy of the surficial sediments on the continental shelf and integrated these studies with sample data to postulate the glacial history. This stratigraphy is correlated with the adjacent land area. In late Early Wisconsinan time the entire shelf was occupied by an ice sheet (the Scotian Shelf-Grand Banks advance). This wasted to an ice shelf which became buoyant in the deeper basins at about 46 OOO BP. At this time a till blanket with numerous discrete ridges (lift-off moraines) on its surface and associated glaciomarine sediment was deposited. During the period 46 OOO to 32 OOO BP the buoyancy line oscillated intermittently, resulting in the development of till tongues at the periphery of the banks and outer edge of the inner shelf which were intercalated with glaciomarine sediments in the basins. At the western end of the Scotian Shelf the ice may ha1·e receded along the Bay of Fundy re-entrant to deposit the Salmon River beds (38 OOO BP) north of Yarmouth. During the latter part of the Middle Wisconsinan and Late Wisconsinan (32 OOO to 16 OOO BP) the buoyancy line receded to the coastal areas except in the eastern Gulf of Maine where the ice shelf again grounded to deposit till in the areas peripheral to Georges Basin, the southern flank of Browns Bank, and the Fundian Moraine of Sewell Ridge. The youngest moraine (= 17 OOO BP) occurs on Trnxton Swell. Subsequently the buoyancy line receded to the coastal areas of Maine and New Brunswick, and the resulting glaciomarine deposits emerged through glacioisostatic rebound. Evidence for the Late Wisconsinan sea level, which we date within the range of 15 OOO to 14 500 BP, and for 1he Late Wisconsinan-Holocene transgression is well expressed along the entire shelf.