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Late Quaternary History of Lake Manitoba, Canada

  • James T. Teller (a1) and William M. Last (a1)


The postglacial history of Lake Manitoba has been deduced from a study of the changes in physical, mineralogical, and chemical variables in sediment cores collected from the lake. Six lithostratigraphic units are recognized in the South Basin of the lake. Weakly developed pedogenic zones, reflecting dry or extremely low water conditions in the basin, separate five of these six units. The initial phase of lacustrine sedimentation in the Lake Manitoba basin began shortly after 12,000 yr B.P. as water was impounded in front of the receding glacier to form Lake Agassiz. By 11,000 yr ago, continued retreat of the ice sheet opened lower outlets to the east and much of Lake Agassiz drained, including the Lake Manitoba basin. Water levels again rose at 9900 yr B.P., but by about 9200 yr B.P. the South Basin was again dry. For the next 4700 yr there was an alternation of wet and dry conditions in the basin in response to the interaction of a warmer and drier climate and differential crustal rebound of the basin. About 4500 yr ago a new phase of Lake Manitoba sedimentation was initiated when the Assiniboine River began to discharge into the South Basin. The Assiniboine River was diverted out of the Lake Manitoba watershed about 2200 yr ago. Erosion and redistribution of the sandy deltaic sediments deposited by the Assiniboine River has created the barrier beach that now separates the extensive marsh to the south of the lake from the main lake.



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Late Quaternary History of Lake Manitoba, Canada

  • James T. Teller (a1) and William M. Last (a1)


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