A last glacial ice sheet on the Pacific Russian coast and catastrophic change arising from coupled ice–volcanic interaction

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Bigg, G.R. ; Clark, C.D. ; Hughes, A.L.C. (2008)
  • Publisher: Elsevier

Controversy exists over the extent of glaciation in Eastern Asia at the Last Glacial Maximum:\ud complete ice sheet cover vs. restricted mountain icefields (an area discrepancy equivalent to\ud 3.7 Greenland Ice Sheets). Current arguments favour the latter. However, significant last\ud glacial ice-rafted debris (IRD) exists in NW Pacific ocean cores, which must have been\ud sourced from a major ice sheet somewhere bordering the North Pacific. The origin of this IRD\ud is addressed through a combination of marine core analysis, iceberg trajectory modelling and\ud remote sensing of glacial geomorphology. We find compelling evidence for two stages of\ud glaciation centred on the Kamchatka area of maritime southeast Russia during the last glacial,\ud with ice extent intermediate in size between previous maximum and minimum\ud reconstructions. Furthermore, a significant increase in iceberg flux precedes, and\ud accompanies, a substantial marine core ash deposit at around 40ka BP. We speculate that\ud rapid decay of the first stage of the ice sheet may have triggered substantial volcanic activity.
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