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Early Holocene large-scale meltwater discharge from Greenland documented by foraminifera and sediment parameters

Seidenkrantz, M.-S.; Ebbesen, H.; Aagaard-Sorensen, S.; Moros, M.; Lloyd, J.M.; Olsen, J.; Knudsen, M.F.; Kuijpers, A.

Early Holocene large-scale meltwater discharge from Greenland documented by foraminifera and sediment parameters Thumbnail


M.-S. Seidenkrantz

H. Ebbesen

S. Aagaard-Sorensen

M. Moros

J. Olsen

M.F. Knudsen

A. Kuijpers


Records of foraminiferal assemblages combined with lithological properties (grain size, magnetic parameters and XRF data) of marine sediment cores from West Greenland coastal waters and the adjacent Labrador Sea document widespread early Holocene meltwater discharge. This discharge is concluded to originate from large-scale melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) having started prior to 8600 cal. yr BP and ended at about 7700–7500 cal. yr BP, when the GIS margin had withdrawn from the fjords and become mainly land-based. The benthic foraminiferal record from one of the coastal sites mainly reflects West Greenland Current (WGC) subsurface water properties and to a minor degree surface productivity. The most significant feature in this record is an abrupt shift to a higher-productivity regime around ~ 7700 cal. yr BP. We suggest that the cessation of a widespread GIS meltwater discharge at that time favoured an increased influence of (sub)surface water of Atlantic origin and initiation of modern subpolar gyre circulation enabling Labrador Sea deep convection. Further offshore, a record of planktonic foraminiferal assemblages shows an oceanographic change at ca. 9500 cal. yr BP, whilst a gradual but marked change in the planktonic foraminiferal assemblage between 8800 and 7000 cal. yr BP may be related to a narrowing of the WGC low-salinity surface water belt. The oceanic regime off West Greenland prior to ~ 7800 cal. yr BP was thus characterised by the presence of a permanent and widespread meltwater surface layer, presumably preventing deep convection in this region. Apart from indications of a slight decrease in meltwater discharge by the benthic foraminiferal fauna data, neither of the records show any clear signal of a regionally important 8.2 ka event.


Seidenkrantz, M., Ebbesen, H., Aagaard-Sorensen, S., Moros, M., Lloyd, J., Olsen, J., …Kuijpers, A. (2013). Early Holocene large-scale meltwater discharge from Greenland documented by foraminifera and sediment parameters. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 391(Part A), 71-81.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2013
Deposit Date May 31, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jun 19, 2012
Journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Print ISSN 0031-0182
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 391
Issue Part A
Pages 71-81
Keywords Greenland, Early Holocene, Meltwater discharge, Foraminifera, Sediment properties, Magnetic susceptibility; 8.2 ka event.


Accepted Journal Article (10.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2012, 31, , Part A, 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.04.006

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