Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 54-58


Appalachian Glacier Complex in Maritime Canada

  • Rudolph R. SteaAffiliated withTexas A&M UniversityStea Surficial Geology Services


The Appalachian Glacier Complex is defined as a series of local ice centers and divides that developed in Maritime Canada during the Wisconsinan glaciation, effectively barring Laurentide ice from the region.


At the turn of the last century when the first geological maps were being completed in the Maritime Provinces of Canada (Figure 1), a controversy emerged about the nature of glaciation in the area that still resonates today. Was the ice local, originating in Appalachian upland areas or was it part of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) with its center in Québec.
Appalachian Glacier Complex in Maritime Canada, Figure 1

Location map and topography of the study area.

These two opposing models of glaciation for the Maritime Provinces have come to be known as the “minimum” and “maximum” models. The maximum model invokes the LIS covering the entire region during the last glacial maximum (LGM) (∼20 kyr BP) (Flint, 1971; Mayewski et al., 1981; Dyke et al ...

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