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Growth rate of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and sea Level Lowering (with Emphasis on the 115,000 BP Sea Level Low)

  • J.T. Andrews (a1) and M.A.W. Mahaffy (a2)

A physically plausible three-dimensional numerical ice flow model is used to examine the rate at which the Laurentide Ice Sheet could spread and thicken using as input likely values for the rate of fall of snowline and the amount of net mass balance over the growing ice sheet. This provides then both a test of the hypothesis of “instantaneous glacierization” and of the suggested rapid fall of world sea level to between −20 and −70 m below present at 115,000 BP. Two experiments are described: The first terminated after 10,050 years of model run with ice sheets centered over Labrador-Ungava and Baffin Island with a total volume of 3.0 × 106 km3 of ice, whereas the second was completed after 10,000 years and resulted in a significantly larger ice sheet (still with two main centers) with a volume of 7.78 × 106 km3 of ice. This latter figure is equivalent to the mass required to lower world sea level by 19.4 m. Our results indicate that large ice sheets can develop in about 10,000 years under optimum conditions.

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Quaternary Research
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