The post-glacial paleoecology of the Morley Flats and Kananaskis Valley region, southwestern Alberta
Quaternary paleoecological data is still relatively scarce for southwestern Alberta. Accordingly, the objective of this research is to provide information on the post-glacial paleoenvironmental history of the Morley Flats and Kananaskis Valley region of southwestern Alberta. In pursuit of this goal, a radiometrically and tephrachronologically dated core from a small bog near the Yamnuska Centre on the Morley Flats and a radiometrically and tephrachronologically dated lacustrine sediment section from Wedge Lake in the Kananaskis Valley are examined in terms of several paleoecological parameters. Sediment grain size distribution and carbonate content are assessed to provide details of the depositional history for each study site. Palynological analysis is utilized to reconstruct the vegetational history of the region. Fossil molluscan faunal analysis is employed to provide data on environmental variation in the aquatic environment of each study site. In addition, a number of descriptive, preliminary, bivariate and multi-variate statistical techniques are examined in terms of their applicability to the paleoecological data. The empirical interpretation of the results of this research provides a detailed assessment of the post-glacial paleoenvironmental history of the study site. Immediately following deglaciation of the Morley Flats, a tundra-like vegetation was able to colonize the cold and dry region. By at least 10,400 110 B.P. (GSC-2965) the major portion of the Kananaskis Valley, including Wedge Lake, was ice-free and coniferous forests were establishing themselves in the area. A significant trend of climatic amelioration continued from this period until shortly after the deposition of a pyroclastic layer which is tentatively identified as Mazama Tephra. This period of warm and dry conditions was interrupted once by an episode of climatic deterioration which occurred after 9395 + 215 B.P. (GX-6767) and prior to 6600 B.P. Following the deposition of the tephra layer, conditions deteriorated significantly. This episode was followed by a period of renewed climatic amelioration. By 1140 + 70 B.P. (Beta-1282) cool and moist conditions again became prevalent.
Bibliography: p. 71-78
MacDonald, G. M. (1980). The post-glacial paleoecology of the Morley Flats and Kananaskis Valley region, southwestern Alberta (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/19364