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Keywords:

  • Cordilleran Ice Sheet;
  • deglaciation;
  • glacial meltwater landforms;
  • ice retreat pattern;
  • Liard Lobe

Abstract

The Liard Lobe formed a part of the north-eastern sector of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and drained ice from accumulation areas in the Selwyn, Pelly, Cassiar and Skeena mountains. This study reconstructs the ice retreat pattern of the Liard Lobe during the last deglaciation from the glacial landform record that comprises glacial lineations and landforms of the meltwater system such as eskers, meltwater channels, perched deltas and outwash fans. The spatial distribution of these landforms defines the successive configurations of the ice sheet during the deglaciation. The Liard Lobe retreated to the west and south-west across the Hyland Highland from its local Last Glacial Maximum position in the south-eastern Mackenzie Mountains where it coalesced with the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Retreat across the Liard Lowland is evidenced by large esker complexes that stretch across the Liard Lowland cutting across the contemporary drainage network. Ice margin positions from the late stage of deglaciation are reconstructed locally at the foot of the Cassiar Mountains and further up-valley in an eastern-facing valley of the Cassiar Mountains. The presented landform record indicates that the deglaciation of the Liard Lobe was accomplished mainly by active ice retreat and that ice stagnation played a minor role in the deglaciation of this region. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.