Evidence for an ice shelf covering the central Arctic Ocean during the penultimate glaciation

Nature Communications
By: , and 

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Abstract

The hypothesis of a km-thick ice shelf covering the entire Arctic Ocean during peak glacial conditions was proposed nearly half a century ago. Floating ice shelves preserve few direct traces after their disappearance, making reconstructions difficult. Seafloor imprints of ice shelves should, however, exist where ice grounded along their flow paths. Here we present new evidence of ice-shelf groundings on bathymetric highs in the central Arctic Ocean, resurrecting the concept of an ice shelf extending over the entire central Arctic Ocean during at least one previous ice age. New and previously mapped glacial landforms together reveal flow of a spatially coherent, in some regions >1-km thick, central Arctic Ocean ice shelf dated to marine isotope stage 6 (~140 ka). Bathymetric highs were likely critical in the ice-shelf development by acting as pinning points where stabilizing ice rises formed, thereby providing sufficient back stress to allow ice shelf thickening.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evidence for an ice shelf covering the central Arctic Ocean during the penultimate glaciation
Series title Nature Communications
DOI 10.1038/ncomms10365
Volume 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publisher location London
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 10365, 10 p.
Other Geospatial Arctic Ocean
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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