Pattern of southern Laurentide Ice Sheet margin position changes during Heinrich Stadials 2 and 1

Stephanie L. Heath, Henry M. Loope, B. Brandon Curry, Thomas V. Lowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With concerns over rising global temperatures, ice sheet stability and implications for sea level rise, the responses of former ice sheets to past climate change provide useful insights into linkages between the atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans. One example is the behavior of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) during Heinrich Stadials, times of cooler sea surface temperature (SST) in the North Atlantic. Using existing cosmogenic surface exposure ages, varve chronologies, radiocarbon ages, and optically stimulated luminescence ages from the southern LIS margin, this report tests the hypothesis that the southern side of the LIS advanced during times of surface cooling of the North Atlantic. This test reconstructs the timing of local glacial maxima and the times immediately pro- and preceding them, from multiple areas and compares them to the timing of Heinrich Stadial 2 (HS2; 26.6–23.6 ka) and to the timing of Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1; 19.3–15.3 ka). During HS2 southern sector lobes (New England region, Huron-Erie Lobe, Lake Michigan Lobe, Green Bay Lobe and the Chippewa Lobe) advanced towards their maximum position, except for the Des Moines Lobe for which there is no applicable data. During HS1 these same lobes experienced substantial retreat, but the Des Moines Lobe advanced. Thus, the southern Laurentide margin behaved differently during the two Heinrich Stadials. This pattern may be attributed to differing east-west temperature gradients across North America and associated changes in atmospheric circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-379
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Heinrich Stadials
  • Ice sheet changes
  • Laurentide Ice Sheet
  • North America
  • North Atlantic
  • SST changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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