Changing sedimentation patterns due to historical land-use change in Frenchman's Bay, Pickering, Canada: evidence from high-resolution textural analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examines the anthropogenic alteration of sedimentation in Frenchman's Bay in Lake Ontario, using high-resolution particle size analysis in two 200 cm cores. Lithofacies were determined using the particle size data of both the terrigenous sediment and terrigenous sediment + diatom fractions. Terrigenous particle size data from the centre of the lagoon provided the most representative record of anthropogenic impacts. Three distinctive lithofacies were recognized: (1) a Natural Wetland (NW) lithofacies (106-200 cm) had an average mean particle size of 49.4 m, a mode of 29.4 m and an average standard deviation of 119.1 m; (2) an Agricultural and Deforestation (AD) lithofacies (40-105 cm) had a statistically significant lower average mean (30.8 m), mode (13.5 m), and standard deviation (48.5) m; (3) an Urbanized (U) lithofacies (0-40 cm) showed a continued trend towards smaller particle sizes with an average mean of 21.2 m, a mode of 9.4 m, and an average standard deviation of 32.7 m. The lithofacies correlated with previously identified trends in thecamoebian biofacies and magnetic susceptibility data showing post-colonial lagoon eutrophication and increased overland soil erosion. The up-core trend towards finer and less variable particle sizes is attributed to erosion of fine-grained watershed sediments (glacial Lake Iroquois silts and clay) during land-clearance and modification of natural drainage patterns. The influx of silts and clays into the lagoon is also recorded by increased sediment accumulation rates and a reduction in seasonal sediment variability in the wetland. Based on the 210Pb dates, sedimentation rates increased at 1850 56 AD (AD lithofacies) and suggest an exponentially increasing trend in accumulation rates. Increasing sedimentation rates can be attributed to the progressive loss of native vegetation and intensified erosion of Lake Iroquois deposits via stream and hillslope erosion. Ecologically, the increased input of fine-grained sediments into the wetland has resulted in reduced water clarity and has altered the wetland substrate contributing to wetland loss in Frenchman's Bay. 2006 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • van Hengstum, P. J., Reinhardt, E. G., Boyce, J. I., & Clark, C.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • van Hengstum, PJ||Reinhardt, EG||Boyce, JI||Clark, C

publication date

  • January 2007