The eastern extent of the Barents–Kara ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum based on seismic-reflection data from the eastern Kara Sea

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Polyak, Leonid ; Niessen, Frank ; Gataullin, Valery ; Gainanov, Valery (2008)

We present sub-bottom profiling (sparker and Parasound) results from the eastern Kara Sea, on the Eurasian Arctic margin, which enable the identification of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ice extent. The analysed profiles show that glacigenic diamicton is ubiquitous at the seafloor, east of about 95°E and 78°N. The eastern margin of this diamicton is expressed in a conspicuous morainic ridge at the entrance to the Vilkitsky Strait, and to the south the diamicton projection aligns with the LGM limit mapped at the north-western Taymyr. The bottom of the Voronin Trough further north is also covered with diamicton and has numerous erosional bedforms, indicating a streamlined flow of grounded ice along the trough. Accurate dating of the diamicton is not attainable, but the correlation of pre-diamict sediments to well-dated sections in the Laptev Sea, and available 14C ages from sediments on top of the diamicton, indicate its LGM age. These results support the palaeogeographic reconstruction that assumes the extension of the LGM Barents–Kara ice sheet as far east as Taymyr. This configuration implies that LGM ice blocked the drainage of the Ob and Yenisey rivers on the Kara shelf. This inference is consistent with the presence of large (>100 km wide) lenses of basin infill adjacent to the southern margin of the diamicton. However, the limited distribution of the eastern Kara ice lobe, not extending on Severnaya Zemlya, suggests that the ice was fairly thin and short-lived: insufficient for the accumulation of the gigantic proglacial lakes that occurred during earlier glaciations.
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