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NAPLEA Project, Canada

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Northeast Algonquin Palaeolake and Environmental Assessment (NAPLEA)

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Research Context

reduced algonquinLake AlgonquinLake Algonquin was the most extensive glacial lake in the Great Lakes region. During the Main Phase of its life (c.11-10.5 uncal. kbp) its waters covered an area greater than 120,000 km2. In addition to filling the basins of two of the Great Lakes (Huron and Michigan), Lake Algonquin also incorporated the smaller Nipissing and Simcoe lakes in north and central Ontario, together with large tracts of adjacent land. Algonquin may have ceased to be ice-dammed as early as 11.3 uncal. kbp, but the crucial and rapid drop in water level marking the end of the Main Phase is thought to have occurred between 10.5 and 10 (uncal.) kbp, as retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet opened northern channels into the Mattawa and Ottawa River valleys.

The onset of deglaciation and sequence of environmental change in northern Ontario is known from a small number of sediment cores from lakes and marshes scattered across in this part of the province. These have made it possible to track changes in local and regional habitats into the Early Holocene. The number of well-dated sequences, though, remains very limited over such a vast area. Equally, while there has been almost a century of research into the nature, extent and evolution of Lake Algonquin (particularly along its southern shores), no absolute chronology yet exits of the changes in water level through its primary drainage route eastwards of the modern city of North Bay, Ontario. Obtaining an accurate age for the opening of this drainage outlet and its history has long been recognised as essential to building a robust chronology of deglaciation in the upper Great Lakes region.


Large map 01 11 2010


uclogoLast updated on 04/08/2011
Information provided by Ryan Rabett