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Abstract/ Summary

Heinrich layers of the glacial North Atlantic record abrupt widespread iceberg rafting of detrital carbonate and other lithic material at the extreme-cold culminations of Bond climate cycles. Both internal (glaciologic) and external ( climate) forcings have been proposed. Here we suggest an explanation for the iceberg release that encompasses external climate forcing on the basis of a new glaciological process recently witnessed along the Antarctic Peninsula: rapid disintegrations of fringing ice shelves induced by climate-controlled meltwater infilling of surface crevasses. We postulate that peripheral ice shelves, formed along the eastern Canadian seaboard during extreme cold conditions, would be vulnerable to sudden climate-driven disintegration during any climate amelioration. Ice shelf disintegration then would be the source of Heinrich event icebergs.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Hulbe, CL, Macayeal., DR, Denton, GH, Kleman, J, and Lowell, TV, 2004, Catastrophic Ice Shelf Breakup as the Source of Heinrich Event Icebergs: Paleoceanography, v. 19, PA1004. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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© Copyright 2004 American Geophysical Union




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