Reconstructing the advance and retreat dynamics of the central sector of the last Cordilleran Ice Sheet

Helen E. Dulfer, Martin Margold, Christopher Darvill, Arjen P. Stroeven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advance of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS) towards its Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) configuration and its subsequent retreat remain poorly understood. We use the glacial landform record to determine ice dynamics for the central sector of the CIS in northern British Columbia, Canada, beneath the LGM ice divide. We classify seventy ice-flow indicator flowsets based on morphology, elevation, orientation and cross-cutting relationships into one of three stages, whereby stage 1 is oldest and stage 3 youngest. Combined with ice-contact geomorphology, our reconstruction highlights complex changes in ice flow over time as a result of ice divide migrations through the LGM and deglacial phases. The orientation and distribution of landforms indicates active post-LGM ice retreat westward through the Cassiar and Omineca mountains. We map the regional distribution of independent mountain glaciers, ice caps, and ice fields that regrew during a cooling event in the Late Glacial and show that some of these readvance glaciers were subsequently overrun by advancing outlet glaciers of the CIS. We use the cross-cutting relationship between readvance glaciers and CIS outlet glaciers and available chronological data to reconstruct the eastern CIS margin during the Late Glacial for the first time.

Key words: Pleistocene, paleoglaciology, North America, glacial geomorphology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022


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