Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Volume and Routing of Late-Glacial Runoff from the Southern Laurentide Ice Sheet

  • James T. Teller

Abstract

Melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation added large volumes of water to many rivers and lakes of North America and to the world's oceans. The volume and routing of this meltwater not only helped shape the land's surface but also played a role in the evolution of late-glacial climate. A computerized model was prepared to quantify meltwater generation from seven drainage areas along the southern side of the Laurentide Ice Sheet at 500-yr time slices between 14,000 and 8000 yr B.P. Nearly all waters reaching the oceans flowed through the St. Lawrence, Hudson, or Mississippi River valleys. Discharge through the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico during late-glacial time varied by more than a factor of 5, ranging between 17,400 m3 sec−1 (550 km3 yr−1) and 98,200 m3 sec−1 (3200 km3 yr−1). Discharge entering the North Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence and Hudson valleys ranged between 20,300 m3 sec−1 (640 km3 yr−1) and 65,300 m3 sec−1 (2060 km3 yr−1), with very abrupt, twofold changes at about 11,000, 10,000, and 9500 yr B.P. as a result of the rerouting of water from the Lake Agassiz basin. As the areal extent and mass of the Laurentide Ice Sheet diminished, the total volume of meltwater plus runoff due to precipitation from its southern side declined from 3800 km3 yr−1 at about 14,000 yr B.P. to 2100 to 2600 km3 yr−1 between 11,500 and 8000 yr B.P. No meltwater entered the Gulf of Mexico after 9500 yr B.P. After the demise of the ice sheet over Hudson Bay about 8000 yr B.P., the modern continental drainage network was established and flows through the St. Lawrence declined to modern values of about 320 km3 yr−1.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Andrews, J.T., (1982). On the reconstruction of Pleistocene ice sheets; A review Quaternary Science Reviews 1 130
Andrews, J.T., (1987). The late Wisconsin glaciation and deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 1337 K-3
Andrews, J.T. Falconer, G., (1969). Late glacial and postglacial history and emergence of the Ottawa Islands, Hudson Bay, N.W.T.; Evidence on the deglaciation of Hudson Bay Canadian Journal Earth Sciences 6 12631276
Bloom, A.L., (1971). Glacial-eustatic and isostatic controls of sea level since the last glaciation Turekian, K.K. The late Cenozoic Glacial Ages Yale Univ. Press New Haven, CT 355379
Boulton, G.S. Jones, A.S., (1979). Stability of temperate ice caps and ice sheets resting on beds of deformable sediment Journal of Glaciology 24 2943
Boulton, G.S. Smith, G.D. Jones, A.S. Newsome, J., (1985). Glacial geology and glaciology of the last mid-latitude ice sheets Journal of Geological Society of London 142 447474
Broecker, W.S. Andree, M. Wolfli, W. Oeschger, H. Bonani, G. Kennett, J. Peteet, D., (1988). The chronology of the last deglaciation: Implications to the cause of the younger Dryas event Paleoceanography 3 119
Broecker, W.S. Denton, G.H., (1989). The role of ocean-atmosphere reorganizations in glacial cycles Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 53 24652501
Broecker, W.S. Kennett, J. Flower, B. Teller, J. Trumbore, S. Bonani, G. Wolfli, W., (1989). Routing of meltwater from the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the Younger Dryas cold episode Nature (London) 341 318321
Catto, N.R. Patterson, R.J. Gorman, W.A., (1982). The late Quaternary geology of the Chalk River region, Ontario and Quebec Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 19 12181231
Clayton, L. Moran, S.R., (1982). Chronology of late Wisconsinan glaciation in middle North America Quaternary Science Reviews 1 5582
Denton, G.H. Hughes, T., (1981). The Last Great Ice Sheets Wiley-Interscience New York
Dyke, A.S. Prest, V.K., (1987). Late Wisconsinan and Holocene history of the Laurentide Ice Sheet Geographie Physique et Quaternaire 41 237263
Fillon, R.H. Williams, D.F., (1984). Dynamics of meltwater discharge from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the last deglaciation Nature (London) 310 674677
Fisher, D.A. Rech, N. Langley, K., (1985). Objective reconstructions of the late Wisconsinan Laurentide Ice Sheet and the significance of deformable beds Geographie Physique et Quaternaire 39 229238
Fisheries and Environment Canada Hydrological Atlas of Canada (1978). Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources of Canada
Fullerton, D.S., (1980). Preliminary Correlation of Post-Erie Interstadial events (16,000–10,000 Radiocarbon Years before Present), Central and Eastern Great Lakes Region, and Hudson, Champlain, and St. Lawrence Lowlands. United States and Canada U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1089
Fulton, R.J., (1989). Quaternary Geology of Canada and Greenland Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America K-1
Fulton, R.J. Prest, V.K., (1987). The Laurentide Ice Sheet and its significance Geographie Physique et Quaternaire 41 181186
Hough, J.L., (1968). Great Lakes (North America) Fairbridge, R.W. The Encyclopedia of Geomorphology Reinhold New York 499506
Hughes, T., (1987). Ice dynamics and deglaciation models when ice sheets collapse Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 183220 K-3
Hughes, T.J. Denton, G.H. Anderson, G.B. Schilling, D.H. Fastook, J.L. Lingle, C.S., (1981). The last great ice sheets: A global view Denton, G.H. Hughes, T.J. The Last Great Ice Sheets Wiley-Interscience New York 263317
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, Atlantic Provinces, to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 236
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, British Columbia, to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 1036
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, Manitoba, to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 257
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, Ontario, to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 548
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, Quebec, to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 472
Inland Waters Directorate Historical stream-flow summary, Yukon and N.W.T., to 1984 (1985). Environment Canada, Water Resources Branch 128
Karrow, P.F. Calkin, P.E., (1985). Quaternary Evolution of the Great Lakes Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 30
Klassen, R.W., (1983). Lake Agassiz and the late glacial history of northern Manitoba Teller, J.T. Clayton, L. Glacial Lake Agassiz Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 26 97115
Lewis, C.F.M. Anderson, T.W., (1989). Oscillations of levels and cool phases of the Laurentide Great Lakes caused by inflows from glacial Lakes Agassiz and Barlow-Ojibway Journal of Paleolimnology 2 99146
Manabe, S. Broccoli, A.J., (1985). The influence of continental ice sheets on the climate of an ice age Journal of Geophysical Research 90 21672190
Matsch, C.L., (1983). River Warren, the southern outlet to glacial Lake Agassiz Teller, J.T. Clayton, L. Glacial Lake Agassiz Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 26 231244
Mathews, W.H., (1974). Surface profiles of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in its marginal areas Journal of Glaciology 13 3743
Mickelson, D.M. Clayton, L. Fullerton, D.S. Borns, H.W., (1983). The late Wisconsin glacial record of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the United States Porter, S.C. Late Quaternary Environments of the United States Vol. 1 Univ. of Minnesota Press Minneapolis 337 The Late Pleistocene
Mix, A.C., (1987). The oxygen-isotope record of glaciation Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 111135 K-3
Mix, A.C. Ruddiman, W.F., (1987). Structure and timing of the last deglaciation: Oxygen isotope evidence Quaternary Science Reviews 4 59108
Moody, D.W. Chase, E.B. Aronson, D.A., (1985). National Water Summary 1985—Hydrologic events and surface-water resources U.S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 2300
Paterson, W.S.B., (1972). Laurentide Ice Sheet: Estimated volume during late Wisconsin Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics 10 885917
Paterson, W.S.B., (1981). 2nd ed. The Physics of Glaciers Pergamon Oxford
Peltier, W.R., (1987). Glacial isostasy, mantle viscosity, and Pleistocene climatic change Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 155182 K-3
Peltier, W.R. Andrews, J.T., (1976). Glacial isostatic adjustment. I. The forward problem Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 46 605646
Peltier, W.R. Andrews, J.T., (1983). Glacial geology and glacial isostasy of the Hudson Bay region Smith, D.E. Dawson, A.G. Shorelines and Isostasy Institute of British Geographers Special Publication 16 285319
Porter, S.C., (1983). Late Quaternary Environments of the United States Vol. 1 Univ. of Minnesota Press Minneapolis The Late Pleistocene
Ruddiman, W.F., (1987). Synthesis: The ocean ice/sheet record Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 463478 K-3
Ruddiman, W.F. McIntyre, A., (1981). The North Atlantic Ocean during the last deglaciation Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 35 145214
Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E., (1987). North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America K-3
Shilts, W.W., (1985). Geological models for the configuration, history and style of disintegration of the Laurentide Ice Sheet Waldenberg, M.J. Models in Geomorphology Allen and Unwin London 7391
Sugden, D.E., (1976). Reconstruction of the morphology, dynamics, and thermal characteristics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet at its maximum Arctic and Alpine Research 9 2147
Teller, J.T., (1987). Proglacial lakes and the southern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet Ruddiman, W.F. Wright, H.E. North America and Adjacent Oceans during the Last Deglaciation Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America 3969 K-3
Teller, J.T., (1988). Lake Agassiz and its contribution to flow through the Ottawa-St. Lawrence system Gadd, N.R. The late Quaternary Development of the Champlain Sea Basin Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 35 281289
Teller, J.T. Clayton, L., (1983). Glacial Lake Agassiz Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 26
Teller, J.T. Thorleifson, L.H., (1983). The Lake Agassiz-Lake Superior connection Teller, J.T. Clayton, L. Glacial Lake Agassiz Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 26 261290
Wright, H.E., (1984). Sensitivity and response time of natural systems to climatic change in the late Quaternary Quaternary Science Reviews 3 91131

Volume and Routing of Late-Glacial Runoff from the Southern Laurentide Ice Sheet

  • James T. Teller

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed