Retreat of the western Cordilleran Ice Sheet margin during the last deglaciation

C. M. Darvill, B. Menounos, B. M. Goehring, O. B. Lian, M. W. Caffee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The timing of Cordilleran Ice Sheet deglaciation along the central coast of British Columbia, Canada, informs climate forcing and early human migration. Thirty‐two 10Be exposure ages from glacial erratics and local bedrock on the western margin of the former ice sheet represent the earliest exposure ages for the Cordilleran Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation. These data show the western ice margin was retreating by 18.1 ± 0.2 ka, consistent with the global record of ice mass loss. In contrast, parts of the southern margin reached a maximum at ca. 17.6‐16.6 ka, and our data demonstrate a diachronous response of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet during deglaciation. We also show that a low altitude site was exposed by at least 17.7 ± 0.3 ka, implying that numerous ice‐free areas existed along the coastal margin by this time, providing a viable route for the first humans entering the Americas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9710-9720
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018


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