Holocene sedimentation in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: implications of compositional and textural variations*

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Abstract

Two seismic facies were recognized in the sedimentary sequence overlying acoustic basement in Lake Winnipeg. The upper facies, which overlies a regional unconformity, is termed the Lake Winnipeg Sequence. Based on the seismostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and radiocarbon dates of approximately 4000 and 7000 yr BP from material collected directly over the unconformity in the southern and northern parts of the lake, respectively, this facies has been interpreted as representing Holocene sedimentation. Results of compositional and textural analyses of the Holocene sediment (Winnipeg sediment) from thirteen long (>2 m) cores indicate a transgressional sequence throughout the basin. In the South Basin, the generally fining upward sequence is characterized at the base by silt-sized detrital carbonate minerals, quartz and feldspar which decrease in concentration upward. In this basin, the high carbonate content and V/Al and Zn/Al ratios are indicative of a Paleozoic and Cretaceous provenance for sediment derived from glacial deposits through shoreline erosion and fluvial transport, via the Red River. Sedimentation in the central part of the lake and the North Basin is attributed to shoreline erosion of sand and gravel beaches. Consequently, the texture of these sediments is generally coarser than in the South Basin, and the composition primarily reflects a Paleozoic and Precambrian provenance.

The basin-wide decrease in Ca, total carbonate minerals, dolomite and calcite concentrations upward in the cores is reflected by a decrease in the detrital carbonate component in all but the most northern cores. Other basin-wide trends show an upward increase in organic content in all cores. An increase in grain size near the top of most cores suggests a major, basin-wide change in sedimentation within the last, approximately 900 years in the South Basin.

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