During the Pleistocene glaciations, Arctic ice sheets onwestern Eurasia, Greenland and North America terminated at their continental margins1–4. In contrast, the exposed continental shelves in the Beringian region of Siberia are thought to have been covered by a tundra landscape5–7. Evidence of grounded ice on seafloor ridges and plateaux off the coast of the Beringian margin, at depths of up to 1,000 m, have generally been attributed to ice shelves or giant icebergs that spread oceanwards during glacial maxima8–12. Here we identify marine glaciogenic landforms visible in seismic profiles and detailed bathymetric maps along the East Siberian continental margin. We interpret these features, which occur in present water depths of up to 1,200 m, as traces from grounding events of ice sheets and ice shelves. We conclude that the Siberian Shelf edge and parts of the Arctic Ocean were covered by ice sheets of about 1 km in thickness during several Pleistocene glaciations before the most recent glacial period, which must have had a significant influence on albedo and oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geology and Paleontology