Heinrich layers of the glacial North Atlantic record abrupt widespread iceberg rafting of detrital carbonate and other lithic material at the extreme-cold culminations of Bond climate cycles. Both internal (glaciologic) and external ( climate) forcings have been proposed. Here we suggest an explanation for the iceberg release that encompasses external climate forcing on the basis of a new glaciological process recently witnessed along the Antarctic Peninsula: rapid disintegrations of fringing ice shelves induced by climate-controlled meltwater infilling of surface crevasses. We postulate that peripheral ice shelves, formed along the eastern Canadian seaboard during extreme cold conditions, would be vulnerable to sudden climate-driven disintegration during any climate amelioration. Ice shelf disintegration then would be the source of Heinrich event icebergs.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_denton/2/