The multi-million year history of the Greenland Ice Sheet remains poorly known. Ice-proximal glacial marine diamict provides a direct but discontinuous record of ice sheet behavior; it is underutilized as a climate archive. Here, we present a novel multiproxy analysis of an Early Pleistocene marine diamict from northwestern Greenland. Low cosmogenic nuclide concentrations indicate minimal near-surface exposure, similar to modern terrestrial sediment. Detrital apatite (U-Th-Sm)/He (AHe) ages all predate glaciation by >150 million years, suggesting the northwestern Greenland Ice Sheet had, by 1.9 Ma, not yet incised fjords of sufficient depth to excavate grains with young AHe ages. The diamict contains terrestrial plant leaf wax, likely from land surfaces surrounding the ice sheet. These data indicate that a persistent, dynamic ice sheet existed in northwestern Greenland by 1.9 Ma and that diamict is a useful archive of ice sheet history and process.
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Christ, A. J., Bierman, P. R., Knutz, P. C., Corbett, L. B., Fosdick, J. C., Thomas, E. K., et al. (2020). The northwestern Greenland Ice Sheet during the Early Pleistocene was similar to today. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL085176. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL085176