Antarctica at the Last Glacial Maximum and its retreat to the Holocene

Martin Siegert*, Andrew S. Hein, Duanne White, Damian Gore

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Technological advances in the study and dating of both land and marine glacial geologic features, combined with both glaciological and post-glacial isostatic rebound modelling, have developed knowledge and understanding of the Antarctic ice sheets at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and their subsequent changes in the Holocene. Here, we review geological evidence for the extent and timing of the maximum advance of the East and West Antarctic ice sheets and the ice cover of the Antarctic Peninsula during the most recent glacial cycle. We also discuss evidence for the rate and timing of Holocene ice-sheet retreat. Geological data provide a very important ‘first-hand’ record of ice-sheet changes over a range of time periods. They are also useful for constraining and improving models that have the potential to both fill in the gaps where geological data are unavailable, and to make predictions about the future. An important environmental aspect of Antarctica’s glacial history is its contribution to global sea level rise since the LGM, which based on research to date is between 5.9 and 19.2 m. In order to reduce this uncertainty, there is a need for glaciological modelling to take full account of the constraints placed on LGM ice expansion, particularly in East Antarctica, by incorporation of recent geological evidence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAntarctic climate evolution
    EditorsFabio Florindo, Martin Siegert, Laura De Santis, Timothy Naish
    ISBN (Print)9780128191095
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


    • Glaciology
    • Quaternary
    • glacial history
    • Antarctica


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