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An extensive and dynamic ice sheet on the West Greenland shelf during the last glacial cycle

Ó Cofaigh, C.; Dowdeswell, J.A.; Jennings, A.E.; Hogan, K.A.; Kilfeather, K.; Hiemstra, J.F.; Noormets, R.; Evans, J.; McCarthy, D.J.; Andrews, J.T.; Lloyd, J.M.; Moros, M.


J.A. Dowdeswell

A.E. Jennings

K.A. Hogan

K. Kilfeather

J.F. Hiemstra

R. Noormets

J. Evans

D.J. McCarthy

J.T. Andrews

M. Moros


Considerable uncertainty surrounds the extent and timing of the advance and retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) on the continental shelf bordering Baffin Bay during the last glacial cycle. Here we use marine geophysical and geological data to show that fast-flowing ice sheet outlets, including the ancestral Jakobshavn Isbræ, expanded several hundred kilometers to the shelf edge during the last glaciation ca. 20 ka. Retreat of these outlets was asynchronous. Initial retreat from the shelf edge was underway by 14,880 calibrated (cal) yr B.P. in Uummannaq trough. Radiocarbon dates from the adjacent Disko trough and adjoining trough-mouth fan imply later deglaciation of Jakobshavn Isbræ, and, significantly, an extensive readvance and rapid retreat of this outlet during the Younger Dryas stadial (YD). This is notable because it is the first evidence of a major advance of the GIS during the YD on the West Greenland shelf, although the short duration suggests that it may have been out of phase with YD temperatures.


Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J., Jennings, A., Hogan, K., Kilfeather, K., Hiemstra, J., …Moros, M. (2013). An extensive and dynamic ice sheet on the West Greenland shelf during the last glacial cycle. Geology, 41(2), 219-222.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2012
Journal Geology
Print ISSN 0091-7613
Electronic ISSN 1943-2682
Publisher Geological Society of America
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 2
Pages 219-222