Sediment controls dynamic behavior of a Cordilleran Ice Stream at the Last Glacial Maximum

Type Article
Date 2020-04
Language English
Author(s) Cowan Ellen A.ORCID1, Zellers Sarah D.ORCID2, Müller JulianeORCID3, 4, Walczak Maureen H.5, Worthington Lindsay L.6, Caissie Beth E.ORCID7, Clary Wesley A.ORCID6, Jaeger John M.ORCID8, Gulick Sean P. S.ORCID9, Pratt Jacob W.1, Mix Alan C.5, Fallon Stewart J.ORCID10
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Appalachian State University, Box 32067, Boone, NC, 28608, USA
2 : School of Geoscience, Physics, and Safety, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO, 64093, USA
3 : Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568, Bremerhaven, Germany
4 : Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen/MARUM, 28359, Bremen, Germany
5 : College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA
6 : Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA
7 : Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA
8 : Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
9 : Institute for Geophysics & Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78758, USA
10 : Research School of Earth Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2020-04 , Vol. 11 , N. 1 , P. 1826 (9p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-15579-0
WOS© Times Cited 2

The uncertain response of marine terminating outlet glaciers to climate change at time scales beyond short-term observation limits models of future sea level rise. At temperate tidewater margins, abundant subglacial meltwater forms morainal banks (marine shoals) or ice-contact deltas that reduce water depth, stabilizing grounding lines and slowing or reversing glacial retreat. Here we present a radiocarbon-dated record from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1421 that tracks the terminus of the largest Alaskan Cordilleran Ice Sheet outlet glacier during Last Glacial Maximum climate transitions. Sedimentation rates, ice-rafted debris, and microfossil and biogeochemical proxies, show repeated abrupt collapses and slow advances typical of the tidewater glacier cycle observed in modern systems. When global sea level rise exceeded the local rate of bank building, the cycle of readvances stopped leading to irreversible retreat. These results support theory that suggests sediment dynamics can control tidewater terminus position on an open shelf under temperate conditions delaying climate-driven retreat.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 9 2 MB Open access
Supplementary Information 10 4 MB Open access
Peer Review File 20 322 KB Open access
Description of Additional Supplementary Files 1 70 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 1 82 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 2 23 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 3 1 MB Open access
Supplementary Data 4 119 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 5 26 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 6 119 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 7 60 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 8 31 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 9 21 KB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Cowan Ellen A., Zellers Sarah D., Müller Juliane, Walczak Maureen H., Worthington Lindsay L., Caissie Beth E., Clary Wesley A., Jaeger John M., Gulick Sean P. S., Pratt Jacob W., Mix Alan C., Fallon Stewart J. (2020). Sediment controls dynamic behavior of a Cordilleran Ice Stream at the Last Glacial Maximum. Nature Communications, 11(1), 1826 (9p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :