Abstract

Late Pleistocene Heinrich ice-rafting events produced layers rich in ice-rafted debris in major parts of the North Atlantic north of 40°N. A high detrital carbonate content points to the Hudson Strait outlet of the Laurentide ice sheet as a dominant source of the icebergs. Heinrich events were coupled with short-term climate fluctuations during the last and penultimate glaciations and provide evidence for cryosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere interaction in Pleistocene climate change. An unsolved problem with Heinrich layers has been their high concentration of fine-grained detrital carbonate (>80% of the total detrital carbonate), which cannot have been delivered by icebergs alone. We propose combinations of different processes that deposited four sedimentologically different types of Heinrich layers: ice rafting alone for the coarser, sand- to gravel-sized fractions and the fine fractions in distal regions (type IV Heinrich layers), whereas nepheloid flows deposited the bulk of the fine sediment in regions proximal to the Hudson Strait (type I Heinrich layers). On the Labrador slope, turbidity currents spilling over from canyons were also involved in transporting the fine-grained carbonate-rich material, causing an alternation of mud-turbidites and thin laminae of ice-rafted debris in type II Heinrich layers. On the levees of the Northwest Atlantic Mid-Ocean Channel, the thickness relationship is reversed: mud-turbidites deposited by occasional spillover of currents from the channel are thin and alternate with thicker laminae of ice-rafted debris (type III Heinrich layers).

You do not currently have access to this article.