The ancestral Mississippi drainage archived in the late Wisconsin Mississippi deep-sea fan
The response of continental-scale drainage systems to short-term (i.e., millennial-scale) climate change is unknown but has wide implications for understanding climate feedbacks and terrestrial-marine fluxes. The late Wisconsin Mississippi River to deep-sea fan of North America was one of Earth's largest sediment-routing networks during the most recent glacio-eustatic cycle. To understand late Pleistocene sediment production and dispersal related to the partly glaciated, ancestral Mississippi system, we sampled late Wisconsin deep-sea fan channel-fill and lobe deposits for detrital zircon U-Pb and (U-Th)/He double-dating analyses, from Deep Sea Drilling Project (Leg 96) cores and U.S. Geological Survey piston cores. Our results suggest a late Pleistocene glacial Mississippi system that forced a larger transfer of sediment from Cordilleran magmatic provinces and the Canadian Shield when compared to the modern drainage. This indicates a potentially more expansive and/or erosive ancestral Mississippi catchment, and the efficient dispersal of terrigenous sediment, nutrients, and solutes into the deep-sea via high-discharge meltwater and glacial-lake outbursts during ice retreat.
Fildani, A., M. P. McKay, D. Stockli, J. Clark, M. L. Dykstra, L. Stockli, and A. M. Hessler. "The ancestral Mississippi drainage archived in the late Wisconsin Mississippi deep-sea fan." Geology 44, no. 6 (2016): 479-482.