Evidence from Ar-40/Ar-39 ages for a Churchill province source of ice-rafted amphiboles in Heinrich layer 2

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Journal of Glaciology
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Ar-40/Ar-39 ages of most single ice-rafted amphiboles from Heinrich laver 2 (H2) from a core in the Labrador Sea, a core in the eastern North Atlantic and a core In the western North Atlantic range from 1600 to 2000 Ma. This range is identical to that for K/Ar ages from the Churchill province of the Canadian Shield that outcrops at Hudson Strait and forms the basement of the northern part of Hudson Bay. The ambient glacial sediment includes some younger and older grains derived from Paleozoic, Mesoproterozoic and Archean sources, but still the majority of the amphiboles have ages in the 1600-2000 Ma interval. The Ca/K ratios of these 1600-2000 Ma old amphiboles, however, have a bimodal distribution in contrast with the uniformity of the Ca/K ratios of H2 amphiboles. This indicates that 1600-2000 Ma old amphiboles of the ambient sediment were derived from an additional Early Proterozoic source besides Churchill province. In H2, Churchill-derived grains constitute 20-40% of the ice-rafted debris (IRD). The fraction in the ambient glacial sediment is 65-80%. Results presented here are consistent with the hypothesis that Heinrich events were produced by a sudden intensification of the iceberg discharge through Hudson Strait that mixed, in the North Atlantic, with icebergs that continued to calve from other ice sheets. The shift from mixed sources in the background sediment to a large dominance of Churchill province grains in H2 indicates that, even if calving of other ice sheets intensified during the Heinrich episode, the increase in the iceberg discharge via Hudson Strait from the Hudson Bay drainage basin of the Laurentide ice sheet was by far the largest.


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