High-resolution records of coarse lithic content and oxygen isotope have been obtained in a piston core from the irminger Basin. The last glacial period is characterized by numerous periods of increased iceberg discharges originating partly from Iceland and corresponding to millennial-scale instabilities of the coastal ice sheets and ice shelves in the Nordic area. A comparison with midlatitude sediment cores shows that ice-rafted material corresponding to the Heinrich events was deposited synchronously from 40 degrees to 60 degrees N. There are thus two oscillating systems: every 5-10 kyr massive iceberg armadas are released from large continental ice caps, whereas more frequent instabilities of the coastal ice sheets in the high latitude regions occur every 1.2-3.8 kyr. At the time of the Heinrich events the synchroneity of the response from all the northern hemisphere ice sheets attests the existence of strong interactions between the two systems.
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