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Paris and Galt Moraines, southern Ontario: depositional elements, paleoglacial implications, and hydrogeological applications

Moraines have been mapped in Southern Ontario for nearly one hundred years (Taylor, 1913), yet their composition and depositional origin remains poorly understood. Moraines in this area have been assigned to one of two classes: i) stratified interlobate moraines and ii) till or recessional
moraines. The Paris and Galt moraines were assigned to the till or recessional moraine class (eg. Chapman & Putram, 1943). The Paris and Galt moraines are 130 km long, are up to 11 km wide, and have relief of 30 m. They evolve from two distinct ridges in the south to a broad hummocky terrain
with multiple ridges and secondary landscape elements (kettle depressions, eskers, subaerial fans, channels) northward. These geomorphic changes are mirrored by changes in geology, thickness, and stratigraphy.
Continuous cores from boreholes reveal that the Paris moraine consists of a succession of intercalated gravel and diamicton. Depending on the geographic location, a number of units can underlie the moraine, including bedrock, older till, lacustrine sediment, and glacifluvial gravel. Outcrop data
suggest northern and southern parts of the moraine are different. Within the southern mud-rich glacilacustrine basin, large sand and gravel foresets of 10 m height occur at the base of pit exposures. By contrast, horizontally stratified outwash gravel is common in northern pits. Wentworth TiIl
covers a large part of the moraine, it is massive to stratified and is locally interbedded with sand and gravel. Where overlain by the surficial gravel, its upper contact can be loaded.
The moraine strata are interpreted to have been deposited by a fluctuating, retreating ice margin with a highly variable meltwater flux both, spatially and temporally. The narrow, southern moraine ridges may represent more rapid deposition within a glacial lake basin, whereas the northern, broader
hummocky terrain is interpreted to have been deposited in a terrestrial environment. The moraine is significant hydrogeologically because the hummocky terrain may enhance recharge to bedrock and sand and gravel aquifers at depth.

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