QUANTIFYING LAURENTIDE ICE SHEET MELTWATER GEOCHEMISTRY ACROSS THE LAST DEGLACIATION
Here we present a record of the δ18Owater of LIS meltwater entering the Gulf of Mexico during discrete time slices of the last deglaciation (18–11 ka). We use a novel technique combining laser ablation ICP-MS and δ18Oc analyses on individual shells of the planktic foraminifer Orbulina universa to quantify the instantaneous δ18Owater value of ice sheet meltwater. For each individual O. universa, we quantify Mg/Ca (temperature) and Ba/Ca (salinity) with LA-ICP-MS, and then analyze the same individual for δ18Oc using the remaining shell material. From these proxies, we compute δ18Ow and salinity for each individual foraminifer. Regression of all data points from the same core interval yields a δ18Ow:salinity relationship whose y-intercept is the freshwater end-member. We analyzed 31 core intervals from 17.5—13 ka (10-40 individuals per interval), and one Holocene core top interval, from core MD02-2550, Orca Basin, Gulf of Mexico. Our data suggest that before 15.5 ka, Mississippi River geochemistry was dominated by regional precipitation, and LIS meltwater did not influence salinity variation over the Orca Basin. From 15.5—13 ka, computed δ18Ow values of LIS meltwater from discrete core intervals range from -17‰ to -62‰ (VSMOW), indicating a dynamic melting history of the LIS, with potential contributions from both the low-elevation, southern margin and high-elevation, high-latitude Keewatin and Labrador domes. After 13 ka, our data suggest no Mississippi River influence over the Orca Basin. Instead, we hypothesize open-ocean conditions, as sea level rose and the Gulf of Mexico paleoshoreline retreated northward.