Amino acid ratios in reworked marine bivalve shells constrain Greenland Ice Sheet history during the Holocene

Jason P. Briner, Darrell S. Kaufman, Ole Bennike, Matthew A. Kosnik

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Reconstructions of ice sheet fl uctuations during the Holocene, which encompassed cooler and warmer conditions than those that are captured in the historic record, help to elucidate ice margin sensitivity to climate change. We used amino acid geochronology to constrain the history of the western Greenland Ice Sheet margin during intervals of relative warmth in the middle Holocene. We measured the extent of amino acid racemization in 251 ice sheet-reworked marine bivalve shells from three locations spanning western Greenland. A signifi - cant relationship between shell age and the ratio of aspartic acid (Asp) isomers (Asp D/L) was revealed using Bayesian model fi tting on 20 radiocarbon-dated shell fragments. The range of Asp-inferred bivalve ages at each site corresponds well with independent records of early Holocene ice retreat and late Holocene ice advance. Furthermore, the frequency of Aspinferred bivalve ages from the three widely separated locations is nearly identical, with most ages between 5 and 3 ka, coinciding with optimum oceanic conditions. Because ice margin changes in western Greenland are tightly linked with oceanographic conditions, the distribution of reworked bivalve ages provides important information about relative ice margin position during smaller-than-present ice sheet confi gurations. This approach adds a new chronometer to our toolkit for constraining smaller-than-present ice sheet confi gurations and may have wide applicability around Greenland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-78
    Number of pages4
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


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