The Maximum Extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet along the East Coast of North America during the Last Glaciation

  • Jack D. Ives
Keywords: Glacial epoch, Laurentide Ice Sheet, Glaciation, Canada


During the last hundred years, two widely opposing views of the maximum extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet have prevailed at different times. Between 1860 and 1940, it was assumed that ice extent along the eastern seaboard was limited and that ice-free areas persisted during the Maximum of the Last Glaciation. After 1940, this interpretation was replaced by one contending that all high coastal mountains were inundated. This view, proposed by the late R.F. Flint, was widely accepted as fact until the last few years. This paper reviews the opposing interpretations and analyses the frequently equivocal field evidence and the developments of thought responsible for them. On the basis of field work carried out over the last twenty years, it is suggested that the earlier viewpoint was the more accurate. A map is presented of the author's conclusions regarding maximum ice limits.