Last Glacial Maximum

Most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets were at their greatest extent / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Last Glacial Coldest Period,[1] was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period where ice sheets were at their greatest extent 26,000 and 20,000 years ago.[2] Ice sheets covered much of Northern North America, Northern Europe, and Asia and profoundly affected Earth's climate by causing a major expansion of deserts,[3] along with a large drop in sea levels.[4]

A map of sea surface temperature changes and glacial extent during the last glacial maximum, according to Climate: Long range Investigation, Mapping, and Prediction, a mapping project conducted by the National Science Foundation in the 1970s and 1980s

Based on changes in position of ice sheet margins dated via terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides and radiocarbon dating, growth of ice sheets in the southern hemisphere commenced 33,000 years ago and maximum coverage has been estimated to have occurred sometime between 26,500 years ago[1] and 20,000 years ago.[5] After this, deglaciation caused an abrupt rise in sea level. Decline of the West Antarctica ice sheet occurred between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago, consistent with evidence for another abrupt rise in the sea level about 14,500 years ago.[6][7] Glacier fluctuations around the Strait of Magellan suggest the peak in glacial surface area was constrained to between 25,200 and 23,100 years ago.[8]

There are no agreed dates for the beginning and end of the LGM, and researchers select dates depending on their criteria and the data set consulted. Jennifer French, an archeologist specialising in the European Palaeolithic, dates its onset at 27,500 years ago, with ice sheets at their maximum by around 26,000 years ago and deglaciation commencing between 20,000 and 19,000 years ago.[9] The LGM is referred to in Britain as the Dimlington Stadial, dated to between 31,000 and 16,000 years ago.[10][11]

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