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Revision of the NW Laurentide Ice Sheet: implications for paleoclimatic, the northeast extremity of Beringia, and Arctic Ocean sedimentation

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Quaternary geology, Geochronology, absolute age, Arctic Ocean, Banks Island, Beringia, C-14

Abstract (summary)

For the past half-century, reconstructions of North American ice cover during the Last Glacial Maximum have shown ice-free land distal to the Laurentide Ice Sheet, primarily on Melville and Banks islands in the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Both islands reputedly preserve at the surface multiple Laurentide till sheets, together with associated marine and lacustrine deposits, recording as many as three pre-Late Wisconsinan glaciations. The northwest corner of Banks Island was purportedly never glaciated and is trimmed by the oldest and most extensive glaciation (Banks Glaciation) considered to be of Matuyama age (>780 ka BP). Inside the limit of Banks Glaciation, younger till sheets are ascribed to the Thomsen Glaciation (pre-Sangamonian) and the Amundsen Glaciation (Early Wisconsinan Stade). The view that the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago remained largely ice-free during the Late Wisconsinan is reinforced by a recent report of two woolly mammoth fragments collected on Banks and Melville islands, both dated to ∼22 ka BP. These dates imply that these islands constitute the northeast extremity of Beringia.

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