Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
22 Jan 2016
Research article |  | 22 Jan 2016

Laurentide Ice Sheet basal temperatures during the last glacial cycle as inferred from borehole data

C. Pickler, H. Beltrami, and J.-C. Mareschal

Abstract. Thirteen temperature–depth profiles ( ≥  1500 m) measured in boreholes in eastern and central Canada were inverted to determine the ground surface temperature histories during and after the last glacial cycle. The sites are located in the southern part of the region that was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The inversions yield ground surface temperatures ranging from −1.4 to 3.0 °C throughout the last glacial cycle. These temperatures, near the pressure melting point of ice, allowed basal flow and fast flowing ice streams at the base of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Despite such conditions, which have been inferred from geomorphological data, the ice sheet persisted throughout the last glacial cycle. Our results suggest some regional trends in basal temperatures with possible control by internal heat flow.