Paleoshoreline evidence for postglacial tilting in Southern Manitoba*

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Abstract

Detailed air photo interpretation and four seasons of field mapping and surveying in southern Manitoba have revealed that the once-level paleoshorelines of Lake Winnipegosis and Dauphin Lake and the Burnside shoreline of former Lake Agassiz have been tilted up to the northeast by postglacial differential rebound. Our investigation has also revealed that Lake Winnipegosis has the best preserved paleoshoreline record of any of the large lakes in southern Manitoba, including lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba. This is because northeasterly uptilting shifts the region's lakes to the southwest. Lakes with southern outlets, like Lake Winnipegosis, undergo general regression as the outlet is lowered relative to the rest of the basin. Lakes with northern outlets, like lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, undergo general transgression as northeasterly uptilting raises the outlet relative to the rest of the basin. Along the northeastern shore of Lake Winnipegosis a staircase of at least 32 abandoned Winnipegosis shorelines exists that is consistent with northeasterly tilting.

The Dawson level represents the major mid-Holocene highstand on Lake Winnipegosis. It persisted for about 500 years, peaking at 5290 14C yr B.P. (early Dawson) and then falling about 3 m by 4740 14C yr B.P. (late Dawson). The early Dawson shoreline is tilted at 13.5 cm km−1 in a direction N24.3°E. Three other shorelines informally named shoreline 4, shoreline 3, and shoreline 2 are also tilted up to the northeast. Their radiocarbon ages (and slopes in cm km−1) are 3330 yr B.P. (2.2), 1510 yr B.P. (1.3), and 1080 yr B.P. (0.7), respectively. On Dauphin Lake shoreline IV is the oldest level mapped for this study. It has a 14C age of 7910 yr B.P. and is tilted at 21.7 cm km−1 in a direction N44.4°E. The Id shoreline marks the major mid-Holocene highstand for Dauphin Lake. It peaked at 4640 14C yr B.P. followed by a rapid decline of about 1 m to the Ib shoreline, which is dated at 4320 14C yr B.P. Id is tilted up at 8.8 cm km−1 in a direction N53.4°E. The next major shoreline is Ia3 which has a 14C age of 3020 yr B.P. and is tilted up at 5.3 cm km−1 in a direction N62.3°E. Tilt directions are significantly more easterly for the Dauphin Lake shorelines than those from Lake Winnipegosis or any of the much older Lake Agassiz shorelines. Taken together, the Winnipegosis and Dauphin isobases indicate that the direction of tilt in southern Manitoba is more complex than a simple uni-directional pattern. The observed pattern of tilting for paleoshorelines in southern Manitoba agrees better with predictions derived from the recently revised loading history model ICE-4G than with those from its predecessor ICE-3G. In general, the calculated tilt based on the ICE-3G load tends to exceed the observed tilt, while ICE-4G tends to underestimate it. Both ice load models appear to disagree most with our observed tilts in this region during the interval before about 9000 cal yr B.P., when deglaciation was proceeding rapidly and the large water load associated with Lake Agassiz covered the region. Because both of these ice load models have been estimated mainly from a global data set of relative sea level curves from marine coast sites, it is not unexpected that model tilts derived from them do not agree well with observations in the North American continental interior. The pattern of postglacial crustal deformation for southern Manitoba described in this paper could be used to further refine ice load models for the North American continental interior.

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