Ice-age ice-sheet rheology: constraints from the Last Glacial Maximum form of the Laurentide ice sheet
Abstract:State-of-the-art thermomechanical models of the modern Greenland ice sheet and the ancient Laurentide ice sheet that covered Canada at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) are not able to explain simultaneously the observed forms of these cryospheric structures when the same, anisotropy-enhanced, version of the conventional Glen flow law is employed to describe their rheology. The LGM Laurentide ice sheet, predicted to develop in response to orbital climate forcing, is such that the ratio of its thickness to its horizontal extent is extremely large compared to the aspect ratio inferred on the basis of surface-geomorphological and solid-earth-geophysical constraints. We show that if the Glen flow law representation of the rheology is replaced with a new rheology based upon very high quality laboratory measurements of the stress–strain-rate relation, then the aspect ratios of both the modern Greenland ice sheet and the Laurentide ice sheet, that existed at the LGM, are simultaneously explained with little or no retuning of the flow law.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2000
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