Abstract

The pattern of Heinrich-layer distribution for the last two events (H-1, ∼14.5 and H-2, ∼21.1 ka), mapped from magnetic susceptibility analysis of more than 50 North Atlantic Ocean cores, provides the most detailed information to date on their extent and thickness. An integrated spatial average thickness for the layers is 10–15 cm, and there is a strong distance decay eastward. The pattern of deposition over the North Atlantic is similar for events H-1 and H-2, indicating that icebergs followed similar drift tracks. Rates of iceberg production and sediment flux from the Hudson Strait drainage basin of the North American Laurentide ice sheet, the major iceberg source for the events, were calculated by using a mass-balance approach. This provides an envelope of sedimentation rates and the prediction that it would take between 50 and ∼1250 yr of iceberg sediment delivery to accumulate a Heinrich layer averaging 10 cm thick over the North Atlantic, depending on the model assumptions used. The most likely duration of Heinrich events is 250–1250 yr.

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