The Info List - Last Glacial Maximum

The Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
(LGM) was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period
Last Glacial Period
when ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Vast ice sheets covered much of North America, northern Europe, and Asia. The ice sheets profoundly affected Earth's climate by causing drought, desertification, and a large drop in sea levels.[1] The ice sheets reached their maximum coverage about 26,500 years ago (26.5 ka BP). Deglaciation commenced in the Northern Hemisphere at approximately 20 ka and in Antarctica
approximately at 14.5 ka, consistent with evidence for an abrupt rise in the sea level at about 14.5 ka.[2] The LGM is referred to in Britain as the Dimlington Stadial, dated by Nick Ashton to between 31 and 16 ka.[3][clarification needed][4] In the archaeology of Paleolithic Europe, the LGM spans the Gravettian, Solutrean, Magdalenian
and Périgordian. The LGM was followed by the Late Glacial.


1 Glacial climate 2 World impact

2.1 Europe 2.2 Asia 2.3 Africa and the Middle East 2.4 Australasia 2.5 North America 2.6 South America

3 See also 4 Notes 5 Further reading 6 External links

Glacial climate[edit] Temperature proxies for the last 40,000 years. According to Blue Marble 3000 (a video by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences), the average global temperature around 19,000 BC (about 21,000 years ago) was 9.0 °C (48.2 °F).[5] This is about 6.0 °C (10.8°F) colder than the 2013-2017 average. The figures given by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate
Change (IPCC) estimate a slightly lower global temperature than the figures given by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. However, these figures aren’t exact figures and are open more to interpretation. According to the IPCC, average global temperatures increased by 5.5 ± 1.5 °C (9.9 ± 2.7 °F) since the last glacial maximum, and the rate of warming was about 10 times slower than that of the 20th Century.[6] It appears that they are defining the present as sometime in the 19th Century for this case, but they don’t specify exact years, or give a temperature for the present. Berkeley Earth
puts out a list of average global temperatures by year. If you average all of the years from 1850 to 1899, the average temperature comes out to 13.8 °C (56.9°F).[7] When subtracting 5.5 ± 1.5 °C (9.9 ± 2.7 °F) from the 1850-1899 average, the average temperature for the last glacial maximum comes out to 8.3 ± 1.5 °C (47.0 ± 2.7 °F). This is about 6.7 ± 1.5 °C (12.1 ± 2.7 °F) colder than the 2013-2017 average. This figure is open to interpretation because the IPCC does not specify 1850-1899 as being the present, or give any exact set of years as being the present. It also does not state whether or not they agree with the figures given by Berkeley Earth. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), permanent summer ice covered about 8% of Earth's surface and 25% of the land area during the last glacial maximum.[8] The USGS also states that sea level was about 125 meters (410 feet) lower than in present times (2012).[8] When comparing to the present, the average global temperature was 15.0 °C (58.9 °F) for the 2013-2017 period.[7] Currently (as of 2012), about 3.1% of Earth's surface and 10.7% of the land area is covered in year-round ice.[8] The formation of an ice sheet or ice cap requires both prolonged cold and precipitation (snow). Hence, despite having temperatures similar to those of glaciated areas in North America
North America
and Europe, East Asia remained unglaciated except at higher elevations. This difference was because the ice sheets in Europe
produced extensive anticyclones above them. These anticyclones generated air masses that were so dry on reaching Siberia
and Manchuria
that precipitation sufficient for the formation of glaciers could never occur (except in Kamchatka where these westerly winds lifted moisture from the Sea of Japan). The relative warmth of the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
due to the shutting down of the Oyashio Current and the presence of large 'east-west' mountain ranges were secondary factors preventing continental glaciation in Asia. All over the world, climates at the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
were cooler and almost everywhere drier. In extreme cases, such as South Australia and the Sahel, rainfall could be diminished by up to 90% from present, with florae diminished to almost the same degree as in glaciated areas of Europe
and North America. Even in less affected regions, rainforest cover was greatly diminished, especially in West Africa
West Africa
where a few refugia were surrounded by tropical grasslands. The Amazon rainforest
Amazon rainforest
was split into two large blocks by extensive savanna, and the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia
probably were similarly affected, with deciduous forests expanding in their place except on the east and west extremities of the Sundaland
shelf. Only in Central America
Central America
and the Chocó region of Colombia
did tropical rainforests remain substantially intact – probably due to the extraordinarily heavy rainfall of these regions.

A map of vegetation patterns during the last glacial maximum. Most of the world's deserts expanded. Exceptions were in what is now the western United States, where changes in the jet stream brought heavy rain to areas that are now desert and large pluvial lakes formed, the best known being Lake Bonneville
Lake Bonneville
in Utah. This also occurred in Afghanistan
and Iran, where a major lake formed in the Dasht-e Kavir. In Australia, shifting sand dunes covered half the continent, whilst the Chaco and Pampas
in South America
South America
became similarly dry. Present-day subtropical regions also lost most of their forest cover, notably in eastern Australia, the Atlantic Forest
Atlantic Forest
of Brazil, and southern China, where open woodland became dominant due to drier conditions. In northern China
– unglaciated despite its cold climate – a mixture of grassland and tundra prevailed, and even here, the northern limit of tree growth was at least 20° farther south than today. In the period before the Last Glacial Maximum, many areas that became completely barren desert were wetter than they are today, notably in southern Australia, where Aboriginal occupation is believed to coincide with a wet period between 40,000 and 60,000 years Before Present (BP, a formal measurement of uncalibrated radiocarbon years, counted from 1950 CE).

World impact[edit] During the Last Glacial Maximum, much of the world was cold, dry, and inhospitable, with frequent storms and a dust-laden atmosphere. The dustiness of the atmosphere is a prominent feature in ice cores; dust levels were as much as 20 to 25 times greater than now.[9] This was probably due to a number of factors: reduced vegetation, stronger global winds, and less precipitation to clear dust from the atmosphere.[9] The massive sheets of ice locked away water, lowering the sea level, exposing continental shelves, joining land masses together, and creating extensive coastal plains.[10] During the last glacial maximum, 21,000 years ago, the sea level was about 125 meters (about 410 feet) lower than it is today.[11]

Europe[edit] Main articles: Weichselian glaciation, Würm glaciation, and Devensian glaciation The extent of the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
in Eurasia, Mangerud et al. 2004 (fig 4).[12] Northern Europe
was largely covered by ice, the southern boundary of the ice sheets passing through Germany and Poland. This ice extended northward to cover Svalbard
and Franz Josef Land and northeastward to occupy the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea
Kara Sea
and Novaya Zemlya, ending at the Taymyr Peninsula.[12] In northwestern Russia the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet reached its LGM extent 17 ka BP, five thousand years later than in Denmark, Germany and Western Poland. Outside the Baltic Shield, and in Russia in particular, the LGM ice margin of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet was highly lobate. The main LGM lobes of Russia followed the Dvina, Vologda and Rybinsk
basins respectively. Lobes originated as result of ice following shallow topographic depressions filled with a soft sediment substrate.[13] Permafrost
covered Europe
south of the ice sheet down to present-day Szeged
in Southern Hungary. Ice covered the whole of Iceland
and almost all of the British Isles
British Isles
but southern England. Britain was no more than a peninsula of Europe, its north capped in ice, and its south a polar desert.[14]

Asia[edit] There were ice sheets in modern Tibet
(although scientists continue to debate the extent to which the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
was covered with ice) as well as in Baltistan
and Ladakh. In Southeast Asia, many smaller mountain glaciers formed, and permafrost covered Asia
as far south as Beijing. Because of lowered sea levels, many of today's islands were joined to the continents: the Indonesian islands as far east as Borneo and Bali
were connected to the Asian continent in a landmass called Sundaland. Palawan
was also part of Sundaland, while the rest of the Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands
formed one large island separated from the continent only by the Sibutu Passage
Sibutu Passage
and the Mindoro Strait.[15]

Africa and the Middle East[edit] In Africa and the Middle East, many smaller mountain glaciers formed, and the Sahara
and other sandy deserts were greatly expanded in extent.[10] The Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
averages about 35 metres in depth and the seabed between Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
and Qatar
is even shallower, being mostly less than 15 metres deep. For thousands of years the Ur-Shatt
(a confluence of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers) provided fresh water to the Gulf, as it flowed through the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
into the Gulf of Oman. Bathymetric data suggests there were two palaeo-basins in the Persian Gulf. The central basin may have approached an area of 20,000 km2, comparable at its fullest extent to lakes such as Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi
in Africa. Between 12,000 and 9000 years ago much of the Gulf floor would have remained exposed, only being flooded by the sea after 8,000 years ago.[16] It is estimated that annual average temperatures in Southern Africa were 6 °C lower than at present during the Last Glacial Maximum. This alone would however not have been enough to create a widespread glaciation or permafrost in the Drakensberg
Mountains or the Lesotho Highlands.[17] Seasonal freezing of the ground in the Lesotho Highlands might have reached depths of 2 meter or more below the surface.[18] A few small glaciers did however develop during the Last Glacial Maximum, in particular in south-facing slopes.[17] In the Hex River Mountains, in the Western Cape, block streams and terraces found near the summit of Matroosberg evidences past periglacial activity which likely occurred during the Last Glacial Maximum.[19]

Australasia[edit] The Australian mainland, New Guinea, Tasmania and many smaller islands comprised a single land mass. This continent is now referred to sometimes as Sahul. Between Sahul and Sundaland
– a peninsula of South East Asia
East Asia
that comprised present-day Malaysia and western and northern Indonesia – there remained an archipelago of islands known as Wallacea. The water gaps between these islands, Sahul and Sundaland
were considerably narrower and fewer in number. The two main islands of New Zealand, along with associated smaller islands, were joined as one landmass. Virtually all of the Southern Alps were under permanent ice, with glaciers extending into much of the surrounding high country.[20]

North America[edit] Main article: Wisconsin Glaciation See also: Cordilleran Ice Sheet In North America, the ice covered essentially all of Canada and extended roughly to the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, and eastward to Manhattan. In addition to the large Cordilleran Ice Sheet
Cordilleran Ice Sheet
in Canada and Montana, alpine glaciers advanced and (in some locations) ice caps covered much of the Rocky Mountains further south. Latitudinal gradients were so sharp that permafrost did not reach far south of the ice sheets except at high elevations. Glaciers forced the early human populations who had originally migrated from northeast Siberia
into refugia, reshaping their genetic variation by mutation and drift. This phenomenon established the older haplogroups found among Native Americans, and later migrations are responsible for northern North American haplogroups.[21] On the Island of Hawaii, geologists have long recognized deposits formed by glaciers on Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea
during recent ice ages. The latest work indicates that deposits of three glacial episodes since 150,000 to 200,000 years ago are preserved on the volcano. Glacial moraines on the volcano formed about 70,000 years ago and from about 40,000 to 13,000 years ago. If glacial deposits were formed on Mauna Loa, they have long since been buried by younger lava flows.[22]

South America[edit] Further information: Llanquihue glaciation During the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
valley glaciers in the southern Andes (38–43° S) merged and descended from the Andes occupying lacustrine and marine basins where they spread out forming large piedmont glacier lobes. Glaciers extended about 7 km west of the modern Llanquihue Lake but not more than 2 to 3 km south of it. Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina was also glaciated by the same time.[23] Over most Chiloé glacier advance peaked in 26,000 yrs BP forming a long north-south moraine system along the eastern coast of Chiloé Island (41.5–43° S). By that time the glaciation at the latitude of Chiloé was of ice sheet type contrasting to the valley glaciation found further north in Chile.[24] Despite glacier advances much of the area west of Llanquihue Lake
Llanquihue Lake
was still ice-free during the Last Glacial Maximum.[25][26][25] During the coldest period of the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
vegetation at this location was dominated by Alpine herbs in wide open surfaces. The global warming that followed caused a slow change in vegetation towards a sparsely distributed vegetation dominated by Nothofagus species.[25][26] Within this parkland vegetation Magellanic moorland
Magellanic moorland
alternated with Nothofagus
forest, and as warming progressed even warm-climate trees begun to grow in the area. It is estimated that the tree line was depressed about 1000 m relative to present day elevations during the coldest period, but it rose gradually until 19,300 yr BP. At that time a cold reversal caused a replacement of much of the arboreal vegetation with Magellanic moorland and Alpine species.[26] Little is known about the extent of glaciers during Last Glacial Maximum north of the Chilean Lake District. To the north, in the dry Andes of Central and the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
is associated with increased humidity and the verified advance of at least some mountain glaciers.[27] In the Southern Hemisphere, the Patagonian Ice Sheet
Patagonian Ice Sheet
covered the whole southern third of Chile and adjacent areas of Argentina. On the western side of the Andes the ice sheet reached sea level as far north as in the 41 degrees south at Chacao Channel.[citation needed] The western coast of Patagonia
was largely glaciated, but some authors have pointed out the possible existence of ice-free refugia for some plant species. On the eastern side of the Andes, glacier lobes occupied the depressions of Seno Skyring, Seno Otway, Inútil Bay, and Beagle Channel. On the Straits of Magellan, ice reached as far as Segunda Angostura.[28]

See also[edit]

Climate: Long range Investigation, Mapping, and Prediction Glacial period Ice age Last glacial period Penultimate glacial period Sea level
Sea level
rise Timeline of glaciation


^ Mithen, Steven (2004). After the Ice: a global human history, 20.000–5.000 BC. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-674-01570-8..mw-parser-output cite.citation font-style:inherit .mw-parser-output .citation q quotes:"""""""'""'" .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration color:#555 .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output code.cs1-code color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error display:none;font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format font-size:95% .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left padding-left:0.2em .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right padding-right:0.2em

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Further reading[edit] Developments in Quaternary
Science Series Gillespie, Alan R.; Porter, Stephen C.; Atwater, Brian F. (2003). The Quaternary
Period in the United States. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-51471-4. Ehlers, Jürgen; Gibbard, Philip L. (2004). Quaternary
Glaciations Extent and Chronology. 1. Europe. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-51462-2. Ehlers, Jürgen; Gibbard, Philip L. (2004). Quaternary
Glaciations: Extent and Chronology. 2. North America. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-51592-6. Ehlers, Jürgen; Gibbard, Philip L. (2004). Quaternary
Glaciations: Extent and Chronology. 3. South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-51593-3. Šibrava, Vladimír (1986). Šibrava, V.; Bowen, D.Q; Richmond, G.M. (eds.). " Quaternary
Glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere". Quaternary
Science Reviews. 5: 1–514. Bibcode:1986QSRv....5....1S. doi:10.1016/0277-3791(86)90167-8. External links[edit] Adams, J.M. (1997). "Global land environments since the last interglacial". Atlas of Palaeovegetation: Preliminary land ecosystem maps of the world since the Last Glacial Maximum. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN. Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. "Map and GIS database of glacial landforms and features related to the last British Ice Sheet". BRITICE. Department of Geology, University of Sheffield. 2004. Dyke, A.S.; Moore, A.; Robertson, L. (2003). "Deglaciation of North America". Geological Survey of Canada Open File, 1574. (32 digital maps at 1:7 000 000 scale with accompanying digital chronological database and one poster (two sheets) with full map series.) Manley, W.; Kuaffman, D. "Alaska Paleo Glacier
Atlas: A Geospatial Compilation of Pleistocene
Extents". INSTAAR. University of Colorado. Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) PMIP Web Site and 'Publications : Last Glacial Maximum. Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase II (PMIP2) PMIP2 Home page and PMIP 2 Publications. Osipov, Eduard Y.; Khlystov, Oleg M. "Glaciers and meltwater flux to Lake Baikal during the Last Glacial Maximum". vteContinental glaciationsGeneral Canadian Shield Glacial history of Minnesota Lake Agassiz Lake Chicago Lake Tight Last Glacial Maximum Laurentide Ice Sheet List of prehistoric lakes Post-glacial rebound Proglacial lake Teays River Timeline of glaciation LandformsErosional Fjord Glacial striae Ribbon lake Rôche moutonnée Tunnel valley U-shaped valley Depositional Drumlin Drumlin
field Erratic block Moraine Pulju moraine Rogen moraine Terminal moraine Till plain Veiki moraine Glacifluvial Diluvium Esker Giant current ripples Kame Kame
delta Kettle hole Outwash fan Sandur

North AmericaCanada Arrowhead Provincial Park, Ontario Big Rock (glacial erratic), Alberta Cypress Hills (Canada), Saskatchewan Eramosa River, Ontario Eskers Provincial Park, British Columbia Foothills Erratics Train, Alberta Lion's Head Provincial Park, Ontario Origin of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario Ovayok Territorial Park, Nunavut UnitedStates Chippewa Moraine
State Recreation Area, Wisconsin Coteau des Prairies, South Dakota Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin Glacial Lake Wisconsin, Wisconsin Glacial Lakes State Park, Minnesota Horicon Marsh
Horicon Marsh
State Wildlife Area, Wisconsin Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, Idaho, Oregon & Washington Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, Wisconsin Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin Interstate State Park, Minnesota & Wisconsin Kelleys Island, Ohio Kettle Moraine
State Forest, Wisconsin Lake Bonneville, Utah Lake Lahontan, Nevada Lake Missoula, Montana Mill Bluff State Park, Wisconsin Oneida Lake, New York Two Creeks Buried Forest State Natural Area, Wisconsin Withrow Moraine
and Jameson Lake Drumlin
Field, Washington Yosemite National Park, California Eurasia and Antarctica Antarctica Hardangerfjord Killary Harbour Lambert Glacier Monte Rosa Ross Ice Shelf Svalbard Time periods Quaternary
glaciation Illinoian Stage Interglacial Interstadial Penultimate Glacial Period Last Glacial Period Last Glacial Maximum Oldest Dryas Older Dryas Pleistocene Pre-Illinoian Stage Quaternary
glaciation Sangamonian Stage Wisconsin glaciation Younger Dryas 8.2 kiloyear event Little Ice Age


vteIce ages Quaternary
/ Late CenozoicQuaternary Antarctica Greenland Last glacial period 1st: Würm, Wisconsin, Weichselian, Devensian/Midlandian, Pinedale/Fraser, Merida, Llanquihue 2nd: Riss, Illinoian, Saale, Wolstonian, Santa María 3rd–6th: Mindel, Pre-Illinoian, Elster, Anglian, Rio Llico 7th–8th: Günz, Pre-Illinoian, Elbe or Menapian, Beestonian, Caracol (2.5 to 0 Mya) PlioceneMioceneOligocene Antarctic (34 to 2.5 Mya) Carboniferous–Permian late Paleozoic icehouse (360 Mya to 260 Mya) Ordovician–Silurian Andean-Saharan (460 Mya to 430 Mya) Ediacaran Gaskiers (579.88 to 579.63 Mya) Baykonurian (547 to 541.5 Mya) Cryogenian Sturtian (717 to 660 Mya); Marinoan (650 to 635 Mya) Paleoproterozoic Huronian (2.4 to 2.1 Gya) Mesoarchean Pongola (2.9 to 2.78 Gya) Related topics Greenhouse and icehouse Earth Great Oxygenation Event Snowball Earth Interglacial Milankovitch cycles Stadial Timeli