Testing the Lake Agassiz meltwater trigger for the Younger Dryas



Meltwater drainage from glacial Lake Agassiz has been implicated for nearly 15 years as a trigger for thermohaline circulation changes producing the abrupt cold period known as the Younger Dryas. On the basis of initial field reconnaissance to the lake's proposed outlets, regional geomorphic mapping, and preliminary chronological data, an alternative hypothesis may be warranted.

Should ongoing data collection continue to support preliminary results, it could be concluded that Lake Agassiz did not flood catastrophically into the Lake Superior basin preceding the Younger Dryas (Figure 1). All preliminary findings imply a retreating ice sheet margin approximately 1000 years younger than previously thought, which would have blocked key meltwater corridors at the start of the Younger Dryas.