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Cosmogenic nuclide age estimate for Laurentide Ice Sheet recession from the terminal moraine, New Jersey, USA, and constraints on latest Pleistocene ice sheet history

  • Lee B. Corbett (a1), Paul R. Bierman (a1), Byron D. Stone (a2), Marc W. Caffee (a3) (a4) (a5) and Patrick L. Larsen (a1)...


The time at which the Laurentide Ice Sheet reached its maximum extent and subsequently retreated from its terminal moraine in New Jersey has been constrained by bracketing radiocarbon ages on preglacial and postglacial sediments. Here, we present measurements of in situ produced 10Be and 26Al in 16 quartz-bearing samples collected from bedrock outcrops and glacial erratics just north of the terminal moraine in north-central New Jersey; as such, our ages represent a minimum limit on the timing of ice recession from the moraine. The data set includes field and laboratory replicates, as well as replication of the entire data set five years after initial measurement. We find that recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from the terminal moraine in New Jersey began before 25.2±2.1 ka (10Be, n=16, average, 1 standard deviation). This cosmogenic nuclide exposure age is consistent with existing limiting radiocarbon ages in the study area and cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages from the terminal moraine on Martha’s Vineyard ~300 km to the northeast. The age we propose for Laurentide Ice Sheet retreat from the New Jersey terminal position is broadly consistent with regional and global climate records of the last glacial maximum termination and records of fluvial incision.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Department of Geology and School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA. E-mail address: (L.B. Corbett).


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