Isolation basin records of late Quaternary sea-level change, central mainland British Columbia, Canada.

Helen M. Roe, Christine T. Doherty, R. Timothy Patterson, Glenn A. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Isolation basin records from the Seymour-Belize Inlet Complex, a remote area of central mainland British Columbia, Canada are used to constrain post-glacial sea-level changes and provide a preliminary basis for testing geophysical model predictions of relative sea-level (RSL) change. Sedimentological and diatom data from three low-lying (<4 m elevation) basins record falling RSLs in late-glacial times and isolation from the sea by ~11,800–11,200 14C BP. A subsequent RSL rise during the early Holocene (~8000 14C BP) breached the 2.13 m sill of the lowest basin (Woods Lake), but the two more elevated basins (sill elevations of ~3.6 m) remained isolated. At ~2400 14C BP, RSL stood at 1.49 ± 0.34 m above present MTL. Falling RSLs in the late Holocene led to the final emergence of the Woods Lake basin by 1604 ± 36 14C BP. Model predictions generated using the ICE-5G model partnered with a small number of different Earth viscosity models generally show poor agreement with the observational data, indicating that the ice model and/or Earth models considered can be improved upon. The best data-model fits were achieved with relatively low values of upper mantle viscosity (5 × 1019 Pa s), which is consistent with previous modelling results from the region. The RSL data align more closely with observational records from the southeast of the region (eastern Vancouver Island, central Strait of Georgia), than the immediate north (Bella Bella–Bella Coola and Prince Rupert-Kitimat) and areas to the north-west (Queen Charlotte Sound, Hecate Strait), underlining the complexity of the regional response to glacio-isostatic recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-198
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date01 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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