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Delayed deglaciation or extreme Arctic conditions 21-16 cal. kyr at southeastern Laurentide Ice Sheet margin?

Peteet, Dorothy M.; Beh, M.; Orr, C.; Kurdyla, Dorothy K.; Nichols, Jonathan E.; Guilderson, Thompson P.

The conventionally accepted ages of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) retreat of the southeastern Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) are 26–21 cal. kyr (derived from bulk-sediment radiocarbon ages) and 28–23 cal. kyr (varve estimates). Utilizing accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dating of earliest macrofossils in 13 lake/bog inorganic clays, we find that vegetation first appeared on the landscape at 16–15 cal. kyr, suggesting ice had not retreated until that time. The gap between previous age estimates and ours is significant and has large implications for our understanding of ocean-atmosphere linkages. Older ages imply extreme Arctic conditions for 9–5 cal kyr; a landscape with no ice, yet no deposition in lakes. Our new AMS chronology of LIS retreat is consistent with marine evidence of deglaciation from the N. Atlantic, showing significant freshwater input and sea level rise only after 19 cal kyr with a cold meltwater lid, perhaps delaying ice melt.

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Title
Geophysical Research Letters
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051884

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
October 15, 2012