Glacial lakes McConnell and Mackenzie reconstructed from Pleistocene deltas of the Mackenzie River tributaries

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region

Tags: physical sciences, geology, glaciology, radiocarbon dating

Principal Investigator: Froese, Duane G (6)
Licence Number: 15956
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2017 2016
Issued: Sep 08, 2016
Project Team: Duane G Froese (Principle Investigator, University of Alberta), Martin Margold (Research Fellow, University of Alberta), Joseph Young (Graduate Student/Assistant, University of Alberta)

Objective(s): To investigate the architecture of Pleistocene deltas on the Mackenzie River tributaries; to search evidence of high-magnitude discharge events; and, to collect samples for absolute dating.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are to investigate the architecture of Pleistocene deltas on the Mackenzie River tributaries, search evidence of high-magnitude discharge events, and collect samples for absolute dating.

The research team will investigate stratigraphic description of sedimentary sections in the river banks cutting through the Pleistocene deltas. The team will collect samples for radiocarbon dating (used on preserved organic material) and optically stimulated dating (used on sand). The research team will collect small samples at different levels (about 1 litre of sediment) that will be processed in the lab to identify plant fossils for potential radiocarbon dating. There will be no in situ testing or significant impact from the work. The samples will be collected with hand shovels and trowels in order to ensure contaminant free sampling of the materials. These radiocarbon dates will allow the research team to establish the timing and distribution of glacial lakes (lakes impounded by the Laurentide Ice Sheet to the east). This work builds on work last summer focused on collecting boulders for dating the retreat of the ice sheets.

This research will lead to better knowledge about the natural history of the region at the time prior to and around the first human settlement in the area.

Copies of all research resulting from this project will be provided to the Aurora Research Institute and to communities as Aurora thinks appropriate. A public presentation could be arranged if there is interest from any of the concerned communities.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 8, 2016 to December 31, 2016.