Reconstructions of the extent and height of the Irish Ice Sheet (IIS) during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ~19-26 ka) are widely debated, in large part due to limited age constraints on former ice margins and due to uncertainties in the origin of the trimlines. A key area is southwestern Ireland, where various LGM reconstructions range from complete coverage by a contiguous IIS that extends to the continental shelf edge to a separate, more restricted southern-sourced Kerry-Cork Ice Cap (KCIC). We present new 10Be surface exposure ages from two moraines in a cirque basin in the Macgillycuddy's Reeks that provide a unique and unequivocal constraint on ice thickness for this region. Nine 10Be ages from an outer moraine yield a mean age of 24.5 ± 1.4 ka while six ages from an inner moraine yield a mean age of 20.4 ± 1.2 ka. These ages show that the northern flanks of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks were not covered by the IIS or a KCIC since at least 24.5 ± 1.4 ka. If there was more extensive ice coverage over the Macgillycuddy's Reeks during the LGM, it occurred prior to our oldest ages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics