Marine Science Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Cryospheric science, Palaeoclimate

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


The history of glaciations on Southern Hemisphere sub-polar islands is unclear. Debate surrounds the extent and timing of the last glacial advance and termination on sub-Antarctic South Georgia in particular. Here, using sea-floor geophysical data and marine sediment cores, we resolve the record of glaciation offshore of South Georgia through the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene. We show a sea-bed landform imprint of a shelf-wide last glacial advance and progressive deglaciation. Renewed glacier resurgence in the fjords between c. 15,170 and 13,340 yr ago coincided with a period of cooler, wetter climate known as the Antarctic Cold Reversal, revealing a cryospheric response to an Antarctic climate pattern extending into the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. We conclude that the last glaciation of South Georgia was extensive, and the sensitivity of its glaciers to climate variability during the last termination more significant than implied by previous studies. The glaciated history of South Georgia is debated, with many suggesting a coastal limit to the island’s ice cap during the last glaciation. Here, the authors show extensive ice-cap cover of the continental block during this time and a readvance of glaciers to fjord mouths during the Antarctic Cold Reversal.

Rights Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Nature Communications, v. 8, art. 14798

Included in

Life Sciences Commons