Abstract

Geomorphic and chronologic evidence from Amund and Ellef Ringnes islands documents the configuration, dynamics, and collapse of the northwest sector of the Innuitian Ice Sheet. These data record the inundation of the Ringnes Islands by northwestward-flowing ice from divides spanning the alpine and lowland sectors of the Innuitian Ice Sheet. Ice-flow indicators and granite dispersal along eastern Amund Ringnes Island suggest Massey Sound was filled by an ice stream discharging coalescent alpine and lowland ice from Norwegian Bay. In contrast, the interior of Amund Ringnes Island was overridden by predominantly non-erosive, granite-free ice from a divide in the lowland sector of the ice sheet. Glacial landforms on Ellef Ringnes Island record coverage by largely non-erosive ice, but it remains uncertain whether these features relate to northward-flowing lowland ice or a cold-based local ice cap. Deglaciation of the Ringnes Islands commenced ∼10 000 14C years ago. Deglacial dates between 9.7 and 9.2 ka BP record the sequential entry of marine fauna along Massey and Hassel sounds, concomitant with the southward retreat of trunk ice towards Norwegian Bay. These data suggest marine-based trunk glaciers were vulnerable to calving during pre-Holocene eustatic sea-level rise. However, deglacial dates from inner embayments indicate that residual ice caps persisted on Amund and Ellef Ringnes islands for 800 to 1400 14C years after retreat of trunk ice from the adjacent marine channels. Lateral meltwater channels record the subsequent retreat of these ice caps, which became increasingly confined within upland valleys after 8.6 ka BP.

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