Abstract

During the last glaciation, East Antarctic outlet glaciers contributed to a grounded ice sheet in the Ross Embayment. The timing of maximum ice extent, as well as of subsequent deglaciation of these outlets, has implications for the behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) and its impact on global sea level. We present 45 radiocarbon ages of lacustrine cyanobacteria from the Lake Wellman region alongside Hatherton Glacier, which are the first terrestrial data to both record advance of an Antarctic glacier to its maximum position as well as document a high-resolution chronology of subsequent retreat. Seventeen new exposure ages are widely scattered, but the youngest four are in broad agreement with the radiocarbon data. Hatherton Glacier slowly thickened from 13,000 to 9500 yr B.P. and then thinned steadily until at least ca. 2800 yr B.P. Our work affords evidence of both a delayed maximum and recession of an East Antarctic outlet glacier compared to the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and supports growing evidence of a time-transgressive local LGM within the Ross Sea sector of the ice sheet. Both observations are consistent with the idea that the timing of outlet glacier expansion and timing of recession are controlled by the balance between dynamic thinning from ocean forcing and increased accumulation due to atmospheric warming.

You do not currently have access to this article.