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Journal Article

A marine record of Patagonian ice sheet changes over the past 140,000 years


Hagemann,  Julia R.
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Lamy,  Frank
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Arz,  Helge W.
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Lembke-Jene,  Lester
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Auderset,  Alexandra
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Harada,  Naomi
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Ho,  Sze Ling
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Iwasaki,  Shinya
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Kaiser,  Jérôme
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Lange,  Carina B.
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Murayama,  Masafumi
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Nagashima,  Kana
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Nowaczyk,  N.
4.3 Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, 4.0 Geosystems, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Martínez-García,  Alfredo
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Tiedemann,  Ralf
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Hagemann, J. R., Lamy, F., Arz, H. W., Lembke-Jene, L., Auderset, A., Harada, N., Ho, S. L., Iwasaki, S., Kaiser, J., Lange, C. B., Murayama, M., Nagashima, K., Nowaczyk, N., Martínez-García, A., Tiedemann, R. (2024): A marine record of Patagonian ice sheet changes over the past 140,000 years. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 121, 12, e2302983121.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5025363
Significance Continental glaciers and ice sheets are excellent indicators of ongoing and past climate changes. The Patagonian ice sheet (PIS) was the largest extrapolar ice sheet in the Southern Hemisphere. Many studies have investigated the advances of the PIS on its eastern side, but there are only a few PIS records on the Pacific side. We show that three active intervals occurred during the last ~140 ka, with an extended PIS that contributed to the release of large amounts of freshwater and sediment into the Pacific. Active intervals during the last glacial period occurred from ~70 to 60 ka and from ~40 to 18 ka, with four and five phases of increased ice discharge, respectively, most likely driven by precipitation changes. Abstract Terrestrial glacial records from the Patagonian Andes and New Zealand Alps document quasi-synchronous Southern Hemisphere–wide glacier advances during the late Quaternary. However, these records are inherently incomplete. Here, we provide a continuous marine record of western–central Patagonian ice sheet (PIS) extent over a complete glacial–interglacial cycle back into the penultimate glacial (~140 ka). Sediment core MR16-09 PC03, located at 46°S and ~150 km offshore Chile, received high terrestrial sediment and meltwater input when the central PIS extended westward. We use biomarkers, foraminiferal oxygen isotopes, and major elemental data to reconstruct terrestrial sediment and freshwater input related to PIS variations. Our sediment record documents three intervals of general PIS marginal fluctuations, during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 (140 to 135 ka), MIS 4 (~70 to 60 ka), and late MIS 3 to MIS 2 (~40 to 18 ka). These higher terrigenous input intervals occurred during sea-level low stands, when the western PIS covered most of the Chilean fjords, which today retain glaciofluvial sediments. During these intervals, high-amplitude phases of enhanced sediment supply occur at millennial timescales, reflecting increased ice discharge most likely due to a growing PIS. We assign the late MIS 3 to MIS 2 phases and, by inference, older advances to Antarctic cold stages. We conclude that the increased sediment/meltwater release during Southern Hemisphere millennial-scale cold phases was likely related to higher precipitation caused by enhanced westerly winds at the northwestern margin of the PIS. Our records complement terrestrial archives and provide evidence for PIS climate sensitivity.