Changes in the bathymetry and volume of glacial Lake Agassiz between 9200 and 7700 14C yr B.P

David W. Leverington, Jason D. Mann, James T. Teller

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Abstract

Computer reconstructions of the bathymetry of the lake were used to quantify variations in the size and form of Lake Agassiz during its final two phases (the Nipigon and Ojibway phases), between about 9200 and 7700 14C yr B.P. (ca. 10,300-8400 cal yr B.P.). New bathymetric models for four Nipigon Phase stages (corresponding to the McCauleyville, Hillsboro, Burnside, and The Pas strandlines) indicate that Lake Agassiz ranged between about 19,200 and 4600 km3 in volume and 254,000 and 151,000 km2 in areal extent at those times. A bathymetric model of the last (Ponton) stage of the lake, corresponding to the period in which Lake Agassiz was combined with glacial Lake Ojbway to the east, shows that Lake Agassiz-Ojibway was about 163,000 km3 in volume and 841,000 km2 in areal extent prior to the final release of lake waters into the Tyrrell Sea. During the Nipigon Phase, a number of catastrophic releases of water from Lake Agassiz occurred as more northerly (lower) outlets were made available by the retreating southern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet; we estimate that each of the four newly investigated Nipigon Phase releases involved water volumes of between 1600 and 2300 km3. The final release of Lake Agassiz waters into the Tyrrell Sea at about 7700 14C yr B.P. is estimated to have been about 163,000 km3 in volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2002

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Keywords

  • Bathymetry
  • Lake Agassiz
  • Lake Ojibway
  • Volume

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