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Ice Age Fresh Water Changed Pacific Circulation

12.02.2016 16:50 Age: 2 yrs

The catastrophic failure of a South American Ice Age dam changed the Pacific Ocean circulation and climate, according to new research

Click to enlarge. From the paper. The former ice margin of the expanded Patagonian Ice Sheet that dammed the lakes is indicated. Panels (a,c) indicate different time periods in lake initiation and coalescence with an ice dam impeding drainage at the western end of the lakes and lake elevation determined by the moraine dams at the eastern ends of the lakes. Panel (d) indicates ice recession as a drainage route opens up at the western end of the lake through the col at Lago Tranquilo and the lake drained rapidly westward. Panel (e) shows the situation as further ice recession opened up lower elevation drainage routes to the SE of the NPI and the lake drained southeastward at the head waters of Rio Bravo north of Villa O’Higgins. Panel (f) shows lake drainage during the final stages of deglaciation into Rio Pascua and Lago O’Higgins. After this stage the final drainage of the glacial lake occurred at the final separation of the Patagonian Ice Sheet. Courtesy: authors and Nature Scientific Reports


From Aberystwyth University



Glacial lake drainage in Patagonia (13-8 kyr) and response of the adjacent Pacific Ocean by Neil F. Glasser, Krister N. Jansson, Geoffrey A. T. Duller, Joy Singarayer, Max Holloway and Stephan Harrison in Nature Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep21064.

Read the abstract and get the paper here.


Aberystwyth University news release here.