Near-constant retreat rate of a terrestrial margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation Article (Web of Science)


  • Abstract The Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) was the largest ice sheet during the last glacial period. An accurate representation of its behavior during the last deglaciation is critical to understanding its influence on and response to a changing climate. We use 10Be dating and Bayesian modeling to track the recession of the southwest sector of the Labrador Dome of the LIS along an ∼500-km-long transect west of Lake Superior during the last deglaciation. This transect reflects terrestrial ice-margin retreat and crosses multiple moraine sets, with the southwestern part of the transect deglaciated by ca. 19 ka and the northeastern part deglaciated by ca. 10 ka. The predominant behavior of the ice margin during this interval is near-constant retreat with retreat rates varying between ∼59 m/a and 38 m/a. The moraine sets mark standstills and/or readvances that in total constitute only ∼17% of the retreat interval. The spatial and temporal pattern of ice-margin retreat tracked here differs from existing reconstructions that are based on using isochrons to define ice-margin positions. Acknowledging the uncertainties associated with the modeled ages of ice-margin retreat, we suggest that the overall retreat pattern is consistent with forcing by a gradual increase in Northern Hemisphere, high-latitude summer insolation. The pattern of ice-margin retreat is inconsistent with Greenland ice-core temperature records, and thus these records may not be suitable to drive models of the LIS.


  • Lowell, Thomas V.
  • Kelly, Meredith A.
  • Howley, Jennifer A.
  • Fisher, Timothy G
  • Barnett, Peter J.
  • Schwart, Roseanne
  • Zimmerman, Susan R.H.
  • Norris, Nathaniel
  • Malone, Andrew G.O.

publication date

  • 2021

published in

number of pages

  • 4

start page

  • 1511

end page

  • 1515


  • 49


  • 12