Abstract

Glacial freshwater discharge to the Atlantic Ocean during deglaciation may have inhibited oceanic thermohaline circulation, and is often postulated to have driven climatic fluctuations. Yet attributing meltwater-discharge events to particular climate oscillations is problematic, because the location, timing, and amount of meltwater discharge are often poorly constrained. We present evidence from the Hudson Valley and the northeastern U.S. continental margin that establishes the timing of the catastrophic draining of Glacial Lake Iroquois, which breached the moraine dam at the Narrows in New York City, eroded glacial lake sediments in the Hudson Valley, and deposited large sediment lobes on the New York and New Jersey continental shelf ca. 13,350 yr B.P. Excess 14C in Cariaco Basin sediments indicates a slowing in thermohaline circulation and heat transport to the North Atlantic at that time, and both marine and terrestrial paleoclimate proxy records around the North Atlantic show a short-lived (<400 yr) cold event (Intra-Allerød cold period) that began ca. 13,350 yr B.P. The meltwater discharge out the Hudson Valley may have played an important role in triggering the Intra-Allerød cold period by diminishing thermohaline circulation.

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