Reconstructing the extent, flow and decay of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) on the continental shelves of North America during the last glaciation provides paleoglaciological analogues that are essential for understanding and predicting how modern marine-based ice-sheets will respond to future climate change and sea level fluctuations. The geometry of the LIS during Marine isotope stage 2 (MIS-2; 29-14 ka BP) is one key element for ice-sheet modelling. The maximum extent of the LIS during this stage is well constrained for most sectors of the ice sheet, but major uncertainties remain, especially along the continental shelves of Arctic Canada. Despite a series of recent papers, the extent of the LIS in Western Baffin Bay, an area draining large volumes of glacial ice through multiple ice streams and likely characterized by ice shelves, remains highly speculative. Here we present unequivocal marine geophysical evidence that during the MIS-2 the LIS extended to the edge of the continental shelf, seaward of the previously proposed limits and subsequently retreated episodically westward during deglaciation. These data support interpretations of deep glacial ice grounding in Western Baffin Bay.
Climate change is impacting surficial geomorphic processes, especially in sensitive areas such as the sub-Arctic. One of the most common examples involves landslides, which often develop in glacio-isostatically raised marine clays in northeastern Canada. One of these sites, an expansive area of complex landslide terrain located at the mouth of the Great Whale River in Nunavik, has already been studied due to its age and morphology. We present new data, based on the multidisciplinary research including geomorphic, dendrochronological, and hydroclimatological analyses, allowing us to determine how contemporary climate change has affected landslide reactivation during the last 80 years. Our research included collecting 60 cores from Picea glauca trees, growing on the marginal zone of a landslide deposit, as well as from a reference site. The tilted trees formed eccentric growth-ring patterns, which provided us with reliable dates on the landslide events. In addition to these dendrochronological data, we studied these landslides using repeated aerial photography, which showed changes in river channel constrictions in the period 1969-2019. Based on the eccentricity index of the tree ring data, we recognized disturbance events due to landslides. We compared these data with the hydroclimatological conditions and found clearly visible correlations between heavy rainfall and discharge (>95th percentile) of the Great Whale River. The increased landslide activity over the past several years can be linked to an increase in extreme summertime rainfall events. Increased landslide activity poses a real threat, through its input of large amounts of fine-grained sediment to the river, causing it to narrow.