Heinrich Events

The calving of ice sheets into the global ocean introduces the possibility of coarse-grained sediment being deposited far from continental margins.

Surprisingly, ice-rafted sedimentation in the North Atlantic shows evidence of sharply defined episodes of high sedimentation. Detailed examination of these marine sediments indicates that they originated from the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the general region of Hudson Bay, Canada.

One interpretation of Heinrich events is that they are evidence for instability of the Laurentide Ice Sheet associated with surges of an ice stream the once operated in Hudson Strait.

The observed pattern (Dowdeswell et al., 1995) of ice-rafted sedimentation associated with the H1 Heinrich event is compared to the pattern predicted by simulation modelling (Clarke and La Prairie, 2001).

Clarke, G. K. C., and D. I. La Prairie. 2001. Modelling iceberg drift and ice-rafted sedimentation. In: Continuum mechanics and applications in geophysics and the environment, edited by B. Straughan, R. Greve, H. Ehrentraut and Y. Wang, pp. 183-200, Springer-Verlag, New York.

Clarke, G. K. C., S. J. Marshall, C. Hillaire-Marcel, G. Bilodeau, and C. Veiga-Pires. 1999. A glaciological perspective on Heinrich events. In Clark, P. U., Webb, R., and Keigwin, L. D. (eds.) Mechanisms of global climate change at millennial time scales. American Geophysical Union, Monography 112, 243-262.

Dowdeswell, J. A., M. A. Maslin, J. T. Andrews, J. T., and I. N. McCave. 1995. Iceberg production, debris rafting, and the extent and thickness of Heinrich layers (H-1, H-2) in North Atlantic sediments. Geology, 23, 301-304.

Hemming, S. R. 2004. Heinrich events: massive late Pleistocene detritus layers of the North Atlantic and their global imprint. Reviews of Geophysics, 42, RG1005, doi:10.1029/2003RG000128.

Marshall, S. J., and G. K. C. Clarke. 1997. A continuum mixture model of ice stream thermomechanics in the Laurentide Ice Sheet, II. Applicatoin to the Hudson Strait Ice Stream. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102(B9), 20615-20638.