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The Barnes Ice Cap, containing remnants of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Jeff Schmaltz - NASA Earth Observatory

Weather Talk: World's oldest ice started here

Twenty thousand years ago, at the peak of the last major world glaciation, the Laurentide ice sheet covered our region in ice to a depth of about one mile. The massive glacier may have been two miles high in northern Canada. So much of Earth’s water was being retained by the Laurentide glacier and others around the world that sea level was about 350 feet lower than it is today.

All that is left of the Laurentide glacier today is a relatively small glacier of about 2,000 square miles on Baffin Island in northern Canada called the Barnes ice cap. The Barnes ice cap is melting rapidly and may be gone entirely in a century or two.

Because this region is the original source of the Laurentide glacier, it is likely the oldest ice in Canada. It likely began to form at the end of the Eemian warm period just before the onset of the last glaciation about 100,000 years ago.