Permafrost at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in North America

Hugh M. French, Susan W.S. Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This paper presents three maps that summarize current knowledge as to the extent of Past permafrost and Relict permafrost in North America at approximately the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; c.25-17ka BP) and during subsequent deglaciation until c.10ka BP. Analysis of the post-1983 literature suggests that the extent of Past permafrost south of the LGM limit was broader in eastern North America and slightly narrower in the Interior Great Plains than previously mapped. The recognition and dating of Relict permafrost in the nonglaciated terrain of the northwestern Arctic suggests that permafrost may be of great antiquity and can persist under changing climatic conditions. The formation of permafrost features during deglaciation suggests that ice-proximal climatic conditions remained cold at least long enough for short-lived permafrost aggradation; a latitudinal gradient is evident in the timing of its development as the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-677
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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