Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum

Andrew N. Mackintosh, Elie Verleyen, Philip E. O'Brien, Duanne WHITE, R. Selwyn Jones, Robert M. McKay, Robert Dunbar, Damian B. Gore, David Fink, Alexandra L. Post, Hideki Miura, Amy Leventer, Ian Goodwin, Dominic A. Hodgson, Katherine Lilly, Xavier Crosta, Nicholas R. Golledge, Bernd Wagner, Sonja Berg, Tas van Ommen & 4 others Dan Zwartz, Stephen J. Roberts, Wim Vyverman, Guillaume Masse

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    Abstract

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is the largest continental ice mass on Earth, and documenting its evolution since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for understanding its present-day and future behaviour. As part of a community effort, we review geological evidence from East Antarctica that constrains the ice sheet history throughout this period (w30,000 years ago to present). This includes terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dates from previously glaciated regions, 14C chronologies from glacial and post-glacial deposits onshore and on the continental shelf, and ice sheet thickness changes inferred from ice cores and continental-scale ice sheet models. We also include new 14C dates from the George V Land e Terre Adélie Coast shelf. We show that the EAIS advanced to the continental shelf margin in some parts of East Antarctica, and that the ice sheet characteristically thickened by 300-400 m near the present-day coastline at these sites. This advance was associated with the formation of low-gradient ice streams that grounded at depths of >1 km below sea level on the inner continental shelf. The Lambert/Amery system thickened by a greater amount (800 m) near its present-day grounding zone, but did not advance beyond the inner continental shelf. At other sites in coastal East Antarctica (e.g. Bunger Hills, Larsemann Hills), very little change in the ice sheet margin occurred at the LGM, perhaps because ice streams accommodated any excess ice build up, leaving adjacent, ice-free areas relatively unaffected. Evidence from nunataks indicates that the amount of ice sheet thickening diminished inland at the LGM, an observation supported by ice cores, which suggest that interior ice sheet domes were - 100 m lower than present at this time. Ice sheet recession may have started - 18,000 years ago in the Lambert/Amery glacial system, and by - 14,000 years ago in Mac.Robertson Land. These early pulses of deglaciation may have been responses to abrupt sea-level rise events such as Meltwater Pulse 1a, destabilising the margins of the ice sheet. It is unlikely, however, that last Antarctica contributed more than - 1 m of eustatic sea-level equivalent to post-glacial meltwater pulses. The majority of ice sheet recession occurred after Meltwater Pulse 1a, between - 12,000 and - 6000 years ago, during a period when the adjacent ocean warmed significantly. Large tracts of East Antarctica remain poorly studied, and further work is required to develop a robust understanding of the LGM ice sheet expansion, and its subsequent contraction. Further work will also allow the contribution of the EAIS to post-glacial sea-level rise, and present-day estimates of glacio-isostatic adjustment to be refined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-30
    Number of pages21
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Volume100
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    Antarctica
    Last Glacial Maximum
    ice sheet
    ice
    present
    history
    recession
    continental shelf
    meltwater
    Postglacial
    evidence
    sea level
    ice stream
    snowmelt
    Continental
    Retreat
    History
    ice core
    event
    Pulse

    Cite this

    Mackintosh, A. N., Verleyen, E., O'Brien, P. E., WHITE, D., Jones, R. S., McKay, R. M., ... Masse, G. (2014). Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews, 100, 10-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.07.024
    Mackintosh, Andrew N. ; Verleyen, Elie ; O'Brien, Philip E. ; WHITE, Duanne ; Jones, R. Selwyn ; McKay, Robert M. ; Dunbar, Robert ; Gore, Damian B. ; Fink, David ; Post, Alexandra L. ; Miura, Hideki ; Leventer, Amy ; Goodwin, Ian ; Hodgson, Dominic A. ; Lilly, Katherine ; Crosta, Xavier ; Golledge, Nicholas R. ; Wagner, Bernd ; Berg, Sonja ; van Ommen, Tas ; Zwartz, Dan ; Roberts, Stephen J. ; Vyverman, Wim ; Masse, Guillaume. / Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum. In: Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014 ; Vol. 100. pp. 10-30.
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    abstract = "The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is the largest continental ice mass on Earth, and documenting its evolution since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for understanding its present-day and future behaviour. As part of a community effort, we review geological evidence from East Antarctica that constrains the ice sheet history throughout this period (w30,000 years ago to present). This includes terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dates from previously glaciated regions, 14C chronologies from glacial and post-glacial deposits onshore and on the continental shelf, and ice sheet thickness changes inferred from ice cores and continental-scale ice sheet models. We also include new 14C dates from the George V Land e Terre Ad{\'e}lie Coast shelf. We show that the EAIS advanced to the continental shelf margin in some parts of East Antarctica, and that the ice sheet characteristically thickened by 300-400 m near the present-day coastline at these sites. This advance was associated with the formation of low-gradient ice streams that grounded at depths of >1 km below sea level on the inner continental shelf. The Lambert/Amery system thickened by a greater amount (800 m) near its present-day grounding zone, but did not advance beyond the inner continental shelf. At other sites in coastal East Antarctica (e.g. Bunger Hills, Larsemann Hills), very little change in the ice sheet margin occurred at the LGM, perhaps because ice streams accommodated any excess ice build up, leaving adjacent, ice-free areas relatively unaffected. Evidence from nunataks indicates that the amount of ice sheet thickening diminished inland at the LGM, an observation supported by ice cores, which suggest that interior ice sheet domes were - 100 m lower than present at this time. Ice sheet recession may have started - 18,000 years ago in the Lambert/Amery glacial system, and by - 14,000 years ago in Mac.Robertson Land. These early pulses of deglaciation may have been responses to abrupt sea-level rise events such as Meltwater Pulse 1a, destabilising the margins of the ice sheet. It is unlikely, however, that last Antarctica contributed more than - 1 m of eustatic sea-level equivalent to post-glacial meltwater pulses. The majority of ice sheet recession occurred after Meltwater Pulse 1a, between - 12,000 and - 6000 years ago, during a period when the adjacent ocean warmed significantly. Large tracts of East Antarctica remain poorly studied, and further work is required to develop a robust understanding of the LGM ice sheet expansion, and its subsequent contraction. Further work will also allow the contribution of the EAIS to post-glacial sea-level rise, and present-day estimates of glacio-isostatic adjustment to be refined.",
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    author = "Mackintosh, {Andrew N.} and Elie Verleyen and O'Brien, {Philip E.} and Duanne WHITE and Jones, {R. Selwyn} and McKay, {Robert M.} and Robert Dunbar and Gore, {Damian B.} and David Fink and Post, {Alexandra L.} and Hideki Miura and Amy Leventer and Ian Goodwin and Hodgson, {Dominic A.} and Katherine Lilly and Xavier Crosta and Golledge, {Nicholas R.} and Bernd Wagner and Sonja Berg and {van Ommen}, Tas and Dan Zwartz and Roberts, {Stephen J.} and Wim Vyverman and Guillaume Masse",
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    Mackintosh, AN, Verleyen, E, O'Brien, PE, WHITE, D, Jones, RS, McKay, RM, Dunbar, R, Gore, DB, Fink, D, Post, AL, Miura, H, Leventer, A, Goodwin, I, Hodgson, DA, Lilly, K, Crosta, X, Golledge, NR, Wagner, B, Berg, S, van Ommen, T, Zwartz, D, Roberts, SJ, Vyverman, W & Masse, G 2014, 'Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 100, pp. 10-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.07.024

    Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum. / Mackintosh, Andrew N.; Verleyen, Elie; O'Brien, Philip E.; WHITE, Duanne; Jones, R. Selwyn; McKay, Robert M.; Dunbar, Robert; Gore, Damian B.; Fink, David; Post, Alexandra L.; Miura, Hideki; Leventer, Amy; Goodwin, Ian; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Lilly, Katherine; Crosta, Xavier; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Wagner, Bernd; Berg, Sonja; van Ommen, Tas; Zwartz, Dan; Roberts, Stephen J.; Vyverman, Wim; Masse, Guillaume.

    In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 100, 2014, p. 10-30.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum

    AU - Mackintosh, Andrew N.

    AU - Verleyen, Elie

    AU - O'Brien, Philip E.

    AU - WHITE, Duanne

    AU - Jones, R. Selwyn

    AU - McKay, Robert M.

    AU - Dunbar, Robert

    AU - Gore, Damian B.

    AU - Fink, David

    AU - Post, Alexandra L.

    AU - Miura, Hideki

    AU - Leventer, Amy

    AU - Goodwin, Ian

    AU - Hodgson, Dominic A.

    AU - Lilly, Katherine

    AU - Crosta, Xavier

    AU - Golledge, Nicholas R.

    AU - Wagner, Bernd

    AU - Berg, Sonja

    AU - van Ommen, Tas

    AU - Zwartz, Dan

    AU - Roberts, Stephen J.

    AU - Vyverman, Wim

    AU - Masse, Guillaume

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is the largest continental ice mass on Earth, and documenting its evolution since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for understanding its present-day and future behaviour. As part of a community effort, we review geological evidence from East Antarctica that constrains the ice sheet history throughout this period (w30,000 years ago to present). This includes terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dates from previously glaciated regions, 14C chronologies from glacial and post-glacial deposits onshore and on the continental shelf, and ice sheet thickness changes inferred from ice cores and continental-scale ice sheet models. We also include new 14C dates from the George V Land e Terre Adélie Coast shelf. We show that the EAIS advanced to the continental shelf margin in some parts of East Antarctica, and that the ice sheet characteristically thickened by 300-400 m near the present-day coastline at these sites. This advance was associated with the formation of low-gradient ice streams that grounded at depths of >1 km below sea level on the inner continental shelf. The Lambert/Amery system thickened by a greater amount (800 m) near its present-day grounding zone, but did not advance beyond the inner continental shelf. At other sites in coastal East Antarctica (e.g. Bunger Hills, Larsemann Hills), very little change in the ice sheet margin occurred at the LGM, perhaps because ice streams accommodated any excess ice build up, leaving adjacent, ice-free areas relatively unaffected. Evidence from nunataks indicates that the amount of ice sheet thickening diminished inland at the LGM, an observation supported by ice cores, which suggest that interior ice sheet domes were - 100 m lower than present at this time. Ice sheet recession may have started - 18,000 years ago in the Lambert/Amery glacial system, and by - 14,000 years ago in Mac.Robertson Land. These early pulses of deglaciation may have been responses to abrupt sea-level rise events such as Meltwater Pulse 1a, destabilising the margins of the ice sheet. It is unlikely, however, that last Antarctica contributed more than - 1 m of eustatic sea-level equivalent to post-glacial meltwater pulses. The majority of ice sheet recession occurred after Meltwater Pulse 1a, between - 12,000 and - 6000 years ago, during a period when the adjacent ocean warmed significantly. Large tracts of East Antarctica remain poorly studied, and further work is required to develop a robust understanding of the LGM ice sheet expansion, and its subsequent contraction. Further work will also allow the contribution of the EAIS to post-glacial sea-level rise, and present-day estimates of glacio-isostatic adjustment to be refined.

    AB - The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is the largest continental ice mass on Earth, and documenting its evolution since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for understanding its present-day and future behaviour. As part of a community effort, we review geological evidence from East Antarctica that constrains the ice sheet history throughout this period (w30,000 years ago to present). This includes terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dates from previously glaciated regions, 14C chronologies from glacial and post-glacial deposits onshore and on the continental shelf, and ice sheet thickness changes inferred from ice cores and continental-scale ice sheet models. We also include new 14C dates from the George V Land e Terre Adélie Coast shelf. We show that the EAIS advanced to the continental shelf margin in some parts of East Antarctica, and that the ice sheet characteristically thickened by 300-400 m near the present-day coastline at these sites. This advance was associated with the formation of low-gradient ice streams that grounded at depths of >1 km below sea level on the inner continental shelf. The Lambert/Amery system thickened by a greater amount (800 m) near its present-day grounding zone, but did not advance beyond the inner continental shelf. At other sites in coastal East Antarctica (e.g. Bunger Hills, Larsemann Hills), very little change in the ice sheet margin occurred at the LGM, perhaps because ice streams accommodated any excess ice build up, leaving adjacent, ice-free areas relatively unaffected. Evidence from nunataks indicates that the amount of ice sheet thickening diminished inland at the LGM, an observation supported by ice cores, which suggest that interior ice sheet domes were - 100 m lower than present at this time. Ice sheet recession may have started - 18,000 years ago in the Lambert/Amery glacial system, and by - 14,000 years ago in Mac.Robertson Land. These early pulses of deglaciation may have been responses to abrupt sea-level rise events such as Meltwater Pulse 1a, destabilising the margins of the ice sheet. It is unlikely, however, that last Antarctica contributed more than - 1 m of eustatic sea-level equivalent to post-glacial meltwater pulses. The majority of ice sheet recession occurred after Meltwater Pulse 1a, between - 12,000 and - 6000 years ago, during a period when the adjacent ocean warmed significantly. Large tracts of East Antarctica remain poorly studied, and further work is required to develop a robust understanding of the LGM ice sheet expansion, and its subsequent contraction. Further work will also allow the contribution of the EAIS to post-glacial sea-level rise, and present-day estimates of glacio-isostatic adjustment to be refined.

    KW - Antarctica

    KW - Last Glacial Maximum

    KW - Ice sheet

    KW - Sea level rise.

    U2 - 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.07.024

    DO - 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.07.024

    M3 - Article

    VL - 100

    SP - 10

    EP - 30

    JO - Quaternary Science Reviews

    JF - Quaternary Science Reviews

    SN - 0277-3791

    ER -