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Evidence of solid Earth influence on stability of the marine-terminating Puget Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet
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  • Marion McKenzie,
  • Lauren E Miller,
  • Allison Lepp,
  • Regina DeWitt
Marion McKenzie
Colorado School of Mines

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Lauren E Miller
University of Virginia
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Allison Lepp
University of Virginia
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Regina DeWitt
East Carolina University
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Understanding drivers of marine-terminating ice sheet behavior is important for constraining ice contributions to global sea-level rise. In part, the stability of marine-terminating ice is influenced by solid-Earth conditions at the grounded-ice margin. While the Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS) contributed significantly to global mean sea level during its final post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) collapse, the drivers and patterns of retreat are not well constrained. Coastal outcrops in the deglaciated Puget Lowland of Washington state - largely below sea level during glacial maxima, then uplifted above sea level via glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) - record late Pleistocene history of the CIS. The preservation of LGM glacial and post-LGM deglacial sediments provides a unique opportunity to assess variability in marine ice-sheet behavior of the southernmost CIS. Based on paired stratigraphic and geochronological work with a newly developed marine-reservoir correction for this region, we identify that the late-stage CIS experienced stepwise retreat into a marine environment about 12,000 years before present, placing glacial ice in the region for about 3,000 years longer than previously thought. Stand-still of marine-terminating ice for a millenia, paired with rapid vertical landscape evolution, was followed by continued retreat of ice in a subaerial environment. These results suggest rapid rates of solid Earth uplift and topographic support (e.g., grounding-zone wedges) stabilized the ice-margin, supporting final subaerial ice retreat. This work leads to a better understanding of shallow marine and coastal ice sheet retreat; relevant to sectors of the contemporary Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and marine-terminating outlet glaciers.
30 Oct 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
03 Nov 2023Published in ESS Open Archive