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TitlePleistocene reversal of the Fraser River, British Columbia
AuthorAndrews, G D M; Russell, J K; Brown, S R; Enkin, R JORCID logo
SourceGeology vol. 40, no. 2, 2012 p. 111-114,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20090430
PublisherGeological Society of America
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia
NTS92I/13; 92I/14; 92J/15; 92J/16; 92O/01; 92O/02; 92O/07; 92O/08; 92O/09; 92O/10; 92O/15; 92O/16; 92P/03; 92P/04; 92P/05; 92P/06; 92P/11; 92P/12; 92P/13; 92P/14
AreaFraser River; Fraser Canyon
Lat/Long WENS-123.0000 -121.0000 52.0000 50.7500
Subjectshydrogeology; stratigraphy; geochronology; hydrologic environment; rivers; physiography; drainage patterns; drainage systems; drainage; igneous rocks; volcanic rocks; stratigraphic analyses; paleodrainage; paleogeography; Pleistocene; erosion; Cenozoic
Illustrationslocation maps; stratigraphic columns; photographs
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-3), 2005-2010 Southern Cordillera TGI-3
Released2012 02 01
AbstractThe Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada, is the longest non-dammed river on the west coast of North America and supplies 20 × 106 t/yr of sediment to the Pacific Ocean. Abundant geomorphological evidence indicates that the Fraser River reversed its course to southward flow in the recent geological past. Investigation of two volcanic dams at Dog Creek demonstrates northward flow of the Fraser until at least 1.06 Ma, before reversal and erosion of the 270-km-long Fraser Canyon. We propose that the submarine Nitinat Fan off the coast of British Columbia records the reversal and sudden input of coarse continental-derived sediment ca. 0.76 Ma. This study confirms reversal of the Fraser River and places a firm constraint on the maximum age of that reversal. Reversal likely followed stream capture in response to enhanced glaciofluvial erosion and uplift of the Coast Mountains.

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