Mountain and ice sheet glaciations provide an invaluable record for past and present climate change. However, varying geomorphological process-systems, specific glaciological conditions and topography can make regional, intra-hemispheric and global correlations challenging. This problem is further enhanced by ongoing specialisation within the scientific community. Despite such challenges glacier and ice sheet reconstructions remains a crucial palaeo-enviormental proxy.
The primary aim of this session is to evaluate the potential of mountain and ice sheets glaciation records and stimulate further research in this important field of research. Contributions on all relevant aspects are welcomed, for example: (a) glacial landforms and reconstruction of past glaciers/ice sheets, (b) dating techniques and geochronology compilations, (c) glacier dynamics and palaeoclimatic interpretations, or (d) impacts of ecosystems and human evolution/society.
We would in particular like to invite contributions highlighting the specific conditions of mountain glaciations/ice sheet or addressing the relationship and connections between different of their aspects. To address the diversity of glaciations, contributions from high-, middle-, and low-latitude mountain ranges as well as from continental to maritime regions are all welcomed. The time scale of the session will range from Early Pleistocene glaciations to the LGM and Holocene/modern glaciers.
This session has steadily become more popular and attracted contributions from a wide range of research topics and study areas, both with a high diversity of methodological approaches. It has become a platform for everyone interested in the emerging collaborative research network “The Legacy of Mountain Glaciations” and given an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and expertise.
vPICO presentations: Thu, 29 Apr
The post-LGM thinning history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is not yet well constrained. Here we report some integrated observations and analyses that constrain the ice sheet thinning history in Western Dronning Maud Land and Coats Land, adjacent to the easternmost Weddell Sea, which is a key area of uncertainty in ice sheet reconstructions. Geomorphological observations show a distinct series of weathering zones with fresh erratics only found in a relatively narrow zone above the present ice sheet margin. We report cosmogenic surface exposure dates of erratics in the different weathering zones, using 10Be and in situ 14C. We further report a large number of radiocarbon ages on sub-fossil bird vomit (regurgitated proventricular stomach oil, sometimes termed ‘mumiyo’) from nesting snow petrels (Pagodroma nivea) which record periods of ice sheet absence. Together these analyses allow us to determine a more tightly constrained thinning history of the ice sheet in this sector. We discuss the implications of this thinning history for geologically-based ice sheet reconstructions and for ice sheet models.
How to cite: Bentley, M., Hodgson, D., Hein, A., Binnie, S., and Moreton, S.: Evidence for Holocene ice sheet history from geomorphology, cosmogenic isotopes, and bird vomit, East Antarctica., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8924, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8924, 2021.
Previous attempts to reconstruct the glacial history of the last Fennoscandian Ice sheet (FIS) in northwest Arctic Russia have resulted in various Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (c. 20-10 ka) scenarios, suggesting that the Kola Peninsula was glaciated by the FIS, the Ponoy Ice Cap, or the Kara Sea Ice Sheet. The conflicting glacial interpretations have stemmed, in part, from the use of low-resolution geomorphological and geological maps. The advent of high-resolution remotely-sensed imagery warrants a new glacial reconstruction of ice sheet dynamics in northwest Arctic Russia: we therefore present initial glacial interpretations based on new high-resolution geomorphological mapping.
Geomorphological mapping using high-resolution ArcticDEM and PlanetScope imagery has identified >245,000 glacial landforms, significantly increasing the volume and detail of geomorphological data in the region. Over 66,000 subglacial bedforms (subglacial lineations and subglacial ribs) are used to construct flowsets, which demonstrate that ice flowed from the Scandinavian mountains in the west and across the shield terrain of the Kola Peninsula. Moreover, four possible palaeo-ice streams are identified in the region. Mapping individual moraine hummocks, rather than hummocky moraine spreads as in previous mapping attempts, reveals multiple ice margins across the Kola Peninsula. A noteworthy ~25 km wide belt of hummocky moraines aligned north-south across the Kola Peninsula is tentatively attributed to the Younger Dryas (c. 12.8-11.9 ka) ice marginal zone. The so-called “ring-and-ridge” hummock moraines that are predominantly observed within this ice marginal zone suggest down-wasting and stagnant ice margins. The meltwater landform record also reveals subglacial channel networks along the northern coastline that suggest warm-based conditions of the ice sheet may have been induced by warm currents in the Barents Sea during the last glacial-interglacial transition.
This research will provide crucial empirical data for validating numerical model simulations of the FIS, which in turn will further our understanding of ice sheet dynamics in other Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine regions.
How to cite: Boyes, B., Pearce, D., and Linch, L.: Fennoscandian Ice Sheet glaciation in northwest Arctic Russia during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-47, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-47, 2021.
Highland environments are rarely preserved in the geological record, particularly from as early as the Paleozoic Era. However, several stratigraphic locations are now known which definitely or potentially preserve such environments near the paleoequator during the Late Carboniferous and Early Permian Periods, during which the Earth was in the depths of an icehouse climate like that of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs, the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA). Several of these locations contain evidence of mountain glaciation at altitudes below 2000 m, leading to questions about the significance of tropical mountain glaciation for global climate during this interval of geologic time. However, climate model simulations for the LPIA have not been able to simulate mountain glaciation like that inferred from the geological record, possibly because of low resolution, incorrect boundary conditions, or climate model bias resulting from incomplete representation of moist convective processes impacting tropical lapse rates.
The overarching purpose of this study is to develop a climate modeling framework that enables the significance of mountain glaciation for global paleoclimate to be evaluated. Ideally, such a framework would allow low-resolution global model output to be downscaled to the scale of a mountain range to calculate the equilibrium line altitude and similar parameters, enabling evidence of mountain glaciation in the deep past to be used to constrain/tune the low-resolution global models. While this study was designed to inform a specific problem in deep time paleoclimate, its results are likely broadly applicable to assessing how well mountain glaciation is captured by global climate modeling of the past, present, and future.
Here, I present a framework in which the CMIP6 pre-industrial control simulation for the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) at 0.9°x1.25° resolution is used to generate a data atmosphere for the Community Land Model version 5 (CLM5) run at 0.01° resolution in 10 tropical and 1 mid-latitude domain to study the surface mass balance over the domain. For computational reasons, glaciation is assumed to cover a small portion of each grid cell, but surface mass balance still can be evaluated. Topographic boundary conditions come from GMTED2010, but most other information is directly interpolated from the CESM2 simulation. CLM5 simulations require a fixed lapse rate to be assumed, which is varied in each CLM5 simulation across six different values. The CLM5 simulation output along with the mean tropical lapse rate in the CESM2 simulation is then used to evaluate the various biases of this framework in comparison with estimated pre-industrial equilibrium line altitudes for the studied domains.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (USA) under grant EAR-1849754.
How to cite: Heavens, N.: Downscaling CESM2 in CLM5 to Hindcast Pre-Industrial Equilibrium Line Altitude for Tropical Mountains, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-584, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-584, 2021.
The Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS) repeatedly covered western Canada during the Pleistocene and attained a volume and area similar to that of the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet at the Last Glacial Maximum. Numerical modelling studies of the CIS during the last glacial-interglacial cycle indicate the central sector of this ice sheet, located in mountainous northern British Columbia, played an important role during both the advance and retreat phases. Additionally, the models indicate that the rapid climate oscillations at the end of the Pleistocene had a dramatic effect on the CIS. The abrupt warming at the onset of the Bølling-Allerød caused significant thinning of the ice sheet, resulting in a fifty percent reduction in mass, while the subsequent cooling caused the expansion of alpine glaciers across the former central sector of the CIS. However, the mountainous terrain and remote location have thus far impeded our understanding of this important region of the CIS, and the ice sheet configuration during the Late Glacial remains poorly constrained.
Here we use the glacial landform record to reconstruct the deglaciation dynamics of the central sector of the CIS during the Late Pleistocene climate reversals. Numerous high elevation meltwater channels suggests the early emergence of mountain peaks above the ice sheet and the configuration of ice marginal landforms, particularly lateral meltwater channels, eskers, kame terraces and ice-contact deltas, allows the westward retreat of the ice margin to be traced towards ice dispersal centres in the Skeena and Coast mountains. Hundreds of arcuate, sharp-crested terminal moraines delineate the extent of alpine glaciers, ice caps and ice fields that regrew on mountain peaks above the CIS and numerical dating indicates that this readvance occurred during the Late Glacial period. Additionally, at some locations, cross-cutting relationships preserve the interaction of the local readvance glaciers with the trunk glaciers of the CIS, allowing the extent of the central sector of the CIS during the Late Glacial period to be reconstructed for the first time.
How to cite: Dulfer, H. and Margold, M.: Deglaciation of the central sector of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet in northern British Columbia, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-691, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-691, 2021.
Some valleys in South Island, New Zealand already have a number of well-dated glacier records. However, understanding of the precise timing of old glacial events in many valleys still remains poor. For this purpose, the cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating technique was used to constrain the timing and extent of late Quaternary glaciation in the Ahuriri River valley, Southern Alps, New Zealand. The 33 10Be surface-exposure ages from two different moraine complexes range from 16.6±0.4 ka to 19.7±0.5 ka suggesting rapid glacier recession (~17 km) during the last deglaciation.
Field observation and geomorphological mapping were also used to investigate the extent and drivers of glaciation in this valley. For the final step, we created detail and comprehensive map of the glacial geomorphology in an area covered by palaeo Ahuriri Glacier, in the central Southern Alps. Geomorphological mapping from high-resolution aerial imagery, large scale topographical maps, average resolution DEM, and several field investigations allowed us to produce the 1:38,000 scale map for the entire study site covering an area of about 532 km2.
This newly created map along with the new 10Be surface exposure dataset will help us in better understanding of past glacier-climate interactions in the Southern Alps and in the Southern Hemisphere in general.
How to cite: Tielidze, L., Eaves, S., Norton, K., and Mackintosh, A.: Timing and Extent of Late Quaternary Glaciation in the Ahuriri River Valley, Southern Alps, New Zealand, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-771, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-771, 2021.
The Polish sector of the last Scandinavian Ice Sheet is a key area for studying ice sheet drainage and decay from its local Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) extent, as it is located at the terrestrial terminus of the large and dynamic Baltic Ice Stream Complex. Geomorphological mapping, based on a 0.4 m LIDAR digital elevation model, revealed about 940 streamlined bedforms, many of which are shown for the first time and consisting of mega-scale glacial lineations and drumlins. The lineation flow-sets together with associated landforms were used to identify seventeen ice streams, occupying 80% of the study area. We demonstrated that subtle topographic variations played an important role in influencing ice sheet dynamics. Variations in ice dynamics were a response to external climatic forcing that controlled deglaciation at the ice sheet scale as well as internal reorganisation due to the influence of topography, subglacial hydrology and glacier thermal regime. During the local LGM, the southern sector of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet in Poland was dominated by four simultaneously operating ice streams, likely active for several millennia, followed by fast active recession interrupted by three main periods of ice stream stagnation. Increased ice flow
dynamics during the period of the Young Baltic advances is suggested to be caused by variations in subglacial hydrology and the polythermal structure of the ice sheet.
How to cite: Szuman, I., Kalita, J. Z., Ewertowski, M. W., Clark, C. D., and Livingstone, S. J.: Dynamics of the last Scandinavian Ice Sheet’s southernmost sector revealed by the pattern of ice streams, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-975, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-975, 2021.
Detailed investigations into Holocene glacier fluctuations are a fundamental tool in developing reliable reconstructions of past climate variability and the detection of global climate change. There are, however, many mountain areas that have escaped detailed scrutiny. Here we present a large-scale glacial geomorphological and geochronological study of the central Troms and Finnmark county region in Arctic Norway (covering an area of 6,810 km2) in order to reconstruct glacier change from the early Holocene to present. We undertake the first glacial chronological study in the Rotsund Valley, central Troms and Finnmark county, based on moraine dating using a combination of absolute, calibrated, and relative age dating techniques (terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dating (TCND), Schmidt hammer dating, and soil chronosequencing). Together with our chronological data, our detailed mapping from a much wider area reveals a complex picture of early-Holocene deglaciation and late-Holocene glacier re-advance and we postulate that specific moraine formations are linked to key climatic events including: the Erdalen Event (between 10,100 and 9,700 cal. yrs. BP), the Finse / ‘8.2 ka' Event (between 8,500 and 8,000 cal. yrs. BP), and the Neoglacial (from ~4,500 cal. yrs. BP to the LIA maximum).
How to cite: Leigh, J., Stokes, C., Evans, D., Jones, R., Andreassen, L., and Carr, R.: Reconstructing the Holocene glacial history of northern Norway, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1153, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1153, 2021.
Ongoing monitoring of the Gepatsch Glacier, Tirol (Austria) consists of a multifaceted, interdisciplinary project which aims to characterise short term (diurnal in the summer melt season) and longer term (annual to decadal) changes to the glacier snout and forefield in the context of a rapid retreating valley glacier. The glacial valley and forefield comprises amphibolites, para- and orthogneisses that have been smoothed and striated into whalebacks, compound bedrock-sediment bedforms (crag and tail structures), flutes, and annual moraines. The glacial sediments and landforms are undergoing incision and terrace development by meltwater streams. As part of a long term goal to characterise the rates of erosion, sedimentation, and re-deposition, we return to the same site each year in mid-July to collect airborne data with an UAV (Mavic Pro drone) that allows us to produce orthophotos and digital elevation models. We compute the daily and annual elevation changes, allowing us determine zones of erosion and deposition. Measureable evidence for erosion of flutes in the immediate glacial forefield has occurred over a 12-month time period. Till deposited within the last 20 years has undergone substantial mass wasting and re-deposition as subaerial mass flows, or reworked into stream deposits. The lee side of many whaleback structures completely lacks subglacial sediment, and contains instead a sand and gravel deposit interpreted to result from waterlain deposition. Thus, this case study area offers insight into the rates of erosion and deposition in a complex, proglacial setting, allowing some of these processes to be quantified for the first time. This approach is expected to yield a better understanding of the preservation potential of proglacial sedimentary facies, and hence their preservation potential in Earth’s sedimentary record.
How to cite: Le Heron, D., Davies, B., Scharfenberg, L., Kettler, C., Ketterman, M., Griesmeier, G., Quinn, R., Eder, L., Chen, X., Vandyk, T., and Busfield, M.: The sediment-landform assemblage in the forefield of the Gepatsch Glacier, Tirol, Austria and its preservation potential, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2163, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2163, 2021.
Alpine glaciers repeatedly advanced and retreated from the high Alps to the forelands during the Quaternary and most recently reached their maximum extent and thickness during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26.5-19.0 ka ago) . After the LGM, glaciers abandoned the Alpine foreland and retreated within the internal valleys. However, post-LGM withdrawal was not continuous but interrupted by stages of ice stasis or re-advance (stadials ), related to episodes of temporary climatic cooling. Glacial landforms and deposits associated to post-LGM ice stadials have been recognised across the Alps . Our study contributes to this line of research by quantitatively reconstructing the age and configuration of several ice stages from the LGM to the Holocene, within the Dora Baltea (DB) catchment (SW Alps, Italy).
Following a detailed geomorphological mapping of glacial landforms and deposits, sixteen erratic boulders and two glacially-polished bedrocks were sampled along the DB valley for in-situ 10Be surface-exposure dating, and five samples for luminescence dating were collected from fluvio-lacustrine and fluvio-glacial deposits. The obtained chronologies, combined with recalculated 10Be surface-exposure ages from previous works in the study area [1, 3, 4, 5], constrain seven post-LGM ice stages in the DB valley. The first three retreat stages occurred between the end of the LGM and the early Lateglacial, probably with rapid ice decay. The following three stages correspond to the well-known Gschnitz, Daun and Egesen Alpine Lateglacial stadials , while we also identified a late-Holocene ice re-advance in the upstream DB catchment.
Paleo-ice configurations of each stage (including the LGM) were obtained with a semi-automatic ArcGIS routine (similar approach to GlaRe ArcGIS toolbox ), based on the areal interpolation of 2D ice surface profiles generated through Profiler v.2 . Glacier equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) were computed for the eight 3D ice surface reconstructions , with the aim of deriving potential paleoclimatic implications of the different reconstructed ice stages in comparison to other paleoclimatic proxies.
 Wirsig, C. et al., 2016, Quaternary Science Reviews.
 Ivy-ochs, S., 2015, Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica.
 Gianotti, F. et al., 2015, Alpine and Mediterranean Quaternary.
 Deline, P. et al., 2015, Quaternary Science Reviews.
 Le Roy, M., 2012. Université Grenoble Alpes.
 Pellitero, R. et al., 2016, Computers and Geosciences.
 Benn, D., Hulton, N., 2010, Quaternary Science Reviews.
 Pellitero, R. et al., 2015, Computers and Geosciences.
How to cite: Serra, E., Valla, P. G., Gribenski, N., Magrani, F., Carcaillet, J., and Deline, P.: Post-LGM evolution of the Dora Baltea glacial system and paleoclimatic implications in the Western Italian Alps, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2923, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2923, 2021.
Here we present the use of ice-dammed lake-related landforms and sediments for reconstructing the final phases of decay of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet.
In the late stages of the deglaciation, extensive glacial lakes were dammed between the easterly retreating Scandinavian Ice Sheet and the water divide within the mountains to the west. Using high-resolution airborne LiDAR-data, shorelines and other landforms relating to these ice-dammed lakes have now been discovered over larger areas and in greater numbers than previously known, opening a treasure trove of palaeoglaciological information of vast potential for reconstructing the final decay phase of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet.
The geomorphological imprint of the ice-dammed lakes is of particular importance in northern Scandinavia, as geological evidence pertaining unequivocally to the final ice sheet decay is sparse. Its interpretation is complicated since the ice sheet is thought to have mainly been cold-based during final decay, inhibiting sliding at the ice-bed interface and limiting the construction (or destruction) of landforms indicative of the changing shape and flow of the ice sheet. Furthermore, dated sediment sequences marking the onset of ice-free conditions are woefully few in northern Scandinavia. Likewise, available cosmogenic nuclide exposure dates provide high age uncertainty and inadequate geographical cover, leaving the timing and location of final ice sheet decay still elusive.
Using examples from northern and central Scandinavia, we show that ice-dammed lakes are an intricate part of the deglacial dynamics and show how mapping and dating them offer a solution to these problems. Even with a frozen ice-bed interface, surface melting and meltwater drainage creates landforms unequivocally associated with ice sheet decay: drainage channels, dammed lake shorelines, and deltas. Meltwater drainage routes and ice-dammed lakes are therefore powerful tools for reconstructing a disintegrating ice sheet; a ponded lake reveals the location of its requisite ice-dam, and drainage pathways reveal ice-free conditions. A dated sequence of ice-dammed lake sediments can therefore constrain both ice and lake coverage at that time for a much larger area than the dated site itself. Furthermore, the extent of different ice-dammed lake stages and their requisite ice-damming positions enables the pattern of ice margin change to be traced, and the relative age of ice-marginal positions determined using cross-cutting relations. The shorelines’ present-day tilts are also used to inform patterns and magnitudes of postglacial isostatic uplift, information otherwise lacking from the continental interior but of particular importance for modelling former ice sheet volumes and understanding the crustal response to ice sheet loading. Reconstructing the extents and timing of ice-dammed lakes and the study of related landforms and deposits can therefore greatly improve our understanding of the final decay of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet and provide potential analogues for the predicted future behaviours of modern ice sheets.
How to cite: Regnéll, C., Blomdin, R., Goodfellow, B. W., Greenwood, S. L., Gyllencreutz, R., Mangerud, J., Mikko, H., Peterson Becher, G., Regnéll, J., Svendsen, J. I., and Öhrling, C.: Ice-dammed lakes of Scandinavia - a key to the pattern and chronology of the final decay of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3827, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3827, 2021.
Since the 19th century, geomorphological studies in the currently mainly unglaciated central Balkan Peninsula described extended glacial landforms and repeated glaciations. With the growing number of numerical ages an ambiguous picture has formed concerning the timing of the most extended glaciation and also on the glacier response to the cooling phases (e.g. Younger Dryas) during the last deglaciation of these mountain ranges.
This study provides 10Be cosmic ray exposure ages of a succession of glacial landforms in the Jakupica Mt. (North Macedonia), aiming to improve the understanding of Late Pleistocene glacier development in the area .
In the Jakupica Mt. (~41.7° N, ~21.4 E; Solunska Glava, 2540 m asl) a large plateau glacier was reconstructed (max. area ~45 km2, max thickness: ~300 m), where three main ice accumulation areas could be delineated . The study area comprises six northeastward facing, formerly glaciated valleys. Two of these valleys emerge from the plateau, one stands separate, and the remaining three are topographically separated by a relatively flat NNW-SSE oriented ridge. During the most extensive glacial stages, these three valleys were fed by ice overflowing above this ridge from the plateau. The lowest mapped moraines are descending down to 1550-1700 m asl suggesting the former existence of glacier tongues of ~3 km length. The large plateau ice and the complicated system of confluences makes glacier reconstructions and equilibrium line altitude (ELA) calculations challenging. Thus, the ELAs were preliminary estimated based on the maximum elevation of the lowermost lateral moraines, leading to ELA values of 1800±50 m a.s.l. for the most extended phase.
The maximum ice extent outlined by the lowest mapped moraines descending down to 1550-1500 m asl. occurred around ~24-19 ka (n=5), in agreement with the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum. During the Lateglacial, the exposure ages are getting younger by the glacier recession up to the moraines at ~1820 m asl (~19-14 ka, n=15). However, the highest sampled landforms (~2200 m asl) provided ages with a large scatter between ~25 and ~5 ka (n=6). This large scatter and the observed bias towards old ages are most probably the result of inherited cosmogenic nuclide concentrations within the rock. Consequently, 10Be exposure ages alone are apparently not suitable to determine the age of final deglaciation of this mountain. Similar conditions have been observed in the Retezat Mts (Southern Carpathians, Romania) .
This research was supported by the NKFIH FK124807 and GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00009 projects and by the Radiate Transnational Access 19001688-ST.
 Ruszkiczay-Rüdiger et al., 2020. Last deglaciation in the central Balkan Peninsula: Geochronological evidence from Jablanica Mt. (North Macedonia). Geomorphology 351: 106985
 Temovski et al., 2019. Glacial geomorphology of the northeastern part of the Jakupica Mountain, Macedonia, Central Balkan Peninsula. GRA 21, EGU2019-7822
 Ruszkiczay-Rüdiger et al., 2018. Glacier reconstruction, deglaciation chronology and paleo-environment reconstruction, Retezat Mountains, Southern Carpathians, Romania. Geologica Balcanica; Abstracts of the XXI. CBGA Congress, Salzburg, 10-13 September; p. 240-241.
How to cite: Ruszkiczay-Rüdiger, Z., Kern, Z., Temovski, M., Madarász, B., Milevski, I., Lachner, J., and Steier, P.: Late Pleistocene ice field on Jakupica Mt. (North Macedonia): extent and timing glaciation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4573, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-4573, 2021.
The reconstruction of paleoglaciers and specifically the calculation of their equilibrium line altitude (ELA) is an important source of quantitative paleoclimatic information in mountainous regions. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the prealpine massifs in the south-eastern part of the Alpine chain (Venetian Prealps, Carnic Prealps and Julian Prealps) hosted several small valley glaciers and local ice caps that were isolated from the larger ice-streams occupying the major valleys. Because of their small size and independent dynamics these glaciers can be considered as excellent indicators of local climatic conditions. Although this potential has long been recognised and the sediments and landforms related to these glaciations have been mapped in a few areas, a regional perspective on this type of glaciation is still lacking. This is primarily due to the wide range of methods of ELA reconstructions that has been applied historically, which makes a solid comparison between different localities difficult.
Here, we present a detailed re-evaluation of local LGM glaciation in the south-eastern Alps based on a large-scale survey of remote sensing data and targeted field work at selected localities. Recently developed GIS tools were applied for the reconstruction of paleoglacier geometries and ELAs (Pellitero et al. 2015, 2016). The obtained values are used both to discuss regional climatic patterns during the LGM and site-specific topographic factors. A specific focus is set on the Monte Cavallo group, where glacial sediments from the LGM are covering a thick sequence of interstadial lacustrine deposits. A set of new radiocarbon dates from this succession provides a first chronological control on the onset of glacier expansion in this part of the Alpine chain.
Pellitero, R. et al. 2015. A GIS tool for automatic calculation of glacier equilibrium-line altitudes. Computers & Geosciences 82: 55-62.
Pellitero, R. et al. 2016. GlaRe, a GIS tool to reconstruct the 3D surface of palaeoglaciers. Computers & Geosciences 94: 77-85.
How to cite: Rettig, L., Ferrarese, F., Monegato, G., Mozzi, P., and Spagnolo, M.: Reconstructing LGM paleoglaciers and their ELAs along the southern fringe of the Eastern European Alps, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5523, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-5523, 2021.
High mountain environments and especially proglacial systems, which are areas defined by subtracting modern glacier outlines from Little Ice Age (LIA) limits, are among the most dynamic geomorphic contexts on Earth. They are extremely sensitive to ongoing climate change and its consequences are especially intense – yet relatively poorly investigated – at middle-low latitudes, as in the case of the circum-Mediterranean mountainous contexts. This area (excluding the Alps) encompasses recently deglaciated ground from the borders of the Mediterranean Sea and comprises more than hundred ice bodies dramatically receding since their LIA extension. Most of these glaciers are completely disappeared leaving extensive proglacial areas, which differs from those described in the Alps for the timing and types of ongoing processes. Here, we present and discuss the unique characteristics of such dynamic proglacial contexts, focusing on recently deglaciated high mountain areas of Southeast Turkey that are affected by fast geomorphological evolution tuned by their specific climatic and geological settings. We compare two areas differing for climatic, structural, and lithological settings: i) the Mount Ararat/Ağrı Dağı (5137 m a.s.l.), a stratovolcano, and ii) the Cilo mountain range (up to 4116 m a.s.l.), characterized by a limestone bedrock. Since the LIA, the two areas underwent different trajectories of evolution and different rates of geomorphic processes. High-resolution satellite data from Pleiades and SPOT 6 platforms permit to investigate the overprint of specific local factors (volcanism, tectonic, and topography) on climate-driven surface evolution explains the specific evolution of each proglacial area.
How to cite: Azzoni, R. S., Bollati, I., Pelfini, M., Sarıkaya, M. A., and Zerboni, A.: Evolution of recently deglaciated high mountain landforms in the Eastern Anatolia, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7086, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7086, 2021.
The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is well understood in many parts of the European Alps, but open questions remain concerning glacial phases prior to the LGM as the record is fragmentary. The Gröbminger Mitterberg (GM), located among the Enns Valley in Styria (Austria) is one such location where pre-LGM glacial and paraglacial processes can be studied. The GM emerges roughly 200 m from the Enns Valley floor and is situated between unmetamorphosed Mesozoic carbonates in the north and crystalline basement units in the south. Strata occur below a cover of up to more than 10 m thick basal till attributed to the LGM. The sedimentary record rests on the phyllites and greenschists that crop out at the steep southern flank of the GM. The sediment consists of an assortment of pebble-sand deposits with individual sand lenses, sand bodies with climbing ripples and undulose bedding, and fine-sand/silt laminated strata. In grain-supported intervals, cracked pebbles occur, which are interpreted to record subglacial loading. Cross-bedding orientations, together with the limited amount of unmetamorphosed carbonate pebbles in the sequence, imply that sediment was sourced from the GM and deposited at its margins, rather than from surrounding mountains towards the centre of the Enns Valley. Three depositional regimes have been recognised: deltaic sediment (both distal sands with ripples and proximal, cross-bedded gravel), lake bottom sediment (laminated fine-sand and silt) and fluvial deposits (channels with basal lag deposits and local cross bedding). The delta facies testify to the presence of lacustrine conditions. By analogy to the Unterangerberg in the Inn Valley (Tyrol, Austria; Starnberger et al. 2013), the following sequence of events is proposed. Before the LGM, sediment derived from the wider catchment area accumulated in the Enns Valley in lakes and rivers. Aggradation within the whole Enns valley resulted in deposition on the present day GM. During the LGM, the large Enns Glacier eroded much of the sediment record, especially around the GM. Deposits on top of the GM were then concealed by > 10 m thick diamicts and thereby preserved. Future age dating of the sediments will provide a better-constrained chronology to the sequence of events proposed above.
How to cite: Griesmeier, G. E. U., Reitner, J. M., and Le Heron, D. P.: The Gröbminger Mitterberg (Austria): A time machine to the pre-LGM?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7104, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7104, 2021.
Pleistocene glaciers were extensive in the Marrakech High Atlas, Morocco. Today, semi-permanent snowpatches survive in topoclimatic settings and there is evidence of niche glaciers as recently as the Little Ice Age and early 20th Century. However, little is known about the state of permanent snow and niche glaciers through the Holocene. One hypothesis is that Little Ice Age glaciers were the largest snow and ice masses since the end of the Late-glacial (Younger Dryas 12.9-11.7 ka). Another possibility is that snow and ice expanded to similar or greater extents at other points in the Holocene.
To test these hypotheses, moraine boulders have been sampled on moraine successions in the highest parts of the High Atlas, including moraine successions in front of the névé permanent below the north-facing cliffs of Tazaghart (3890 m a.s.l.), a semi-permanent snowpatch that survives many summers today. This site is bounded by prominent moraine ridges with no soil development and no lichens on surface boulders. Several other high-level sites have been targeted and over 40 samples are currently being processed for 10Be and 36Cl exposure dating. Establishing the relative difference in extent and altitude of Late-glacial and the most recent glaciers in the High Atlas is important for understanding landscape and climate evolution in high mountain areas in the subtropics (31ºN).
The dated geomorphological records for late-lying snow and glaciers will be compared to high-resolution 14C dated continuous parasequences from sediment cores from marshes at the Yagour Plateau and Oukaïmeden, both high-level sites in the High Atlas (~2700 m a.s.l.). The proximity of these sites (5-30 km, respectively) from the snowpatch/glacier sites will provide an important independent record of environmental change, spanning the Late-glacial and Holocene. This geomorphological record of former glaciers and snowpatches (moraines and pronival ramparts) is inherently fragmentary in time and the continuous core records from these alpine marshes will provide crucial insights into changing moisture conditions over time, which at these altitudes are closely related to the extent and volume of snowpack.
The climates associated with perennial snow cover and niche glaciers, and the associated annual snowpack melt, will be quantified using degree-day modelling. This allows melt rates to be predicted and this can be compared against observed modern climate in the High Atlas region. This involves interrogation of existing meteorological datasets from across the High Atlas and the development of algorithms for interpolation and extrapolation to ungauged higher altitudes.
Changes in the nature of the cryosphere through time in the High Atlas Mountains is crucial for understanding human activity and socioeconomic development in the wider region. Today, snowmelt from the High Atlas represents the most important ground water recharge used for a wide variety of purposes. Understanding changes in snow conditions, and as a consequence the behaviour of niche glaciers, in the High Atlas through the Holocene has important implications not only for water supply for humans but also for biological refugia and the evolution of cold-adapted flora and fauna.
How to cite: Bell, B., Hughes, P., Fletcher, W., Braithwaite, R., Cornelissen, H., Fink, D., and Rhoujjati, A.: The extent, timing and palaeoclimatic significance of Late-glacial and Holocene snowpatches and glaciers in the Marrakech High Atlas, Morocco, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7706, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7706, 2021.
The northwestern sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet coalesced with the Cordilleran Ice Sheet over the southern Mackenzie Mountains, and with local montane glaciers along the eastern slopes of the Mackenzie Mountains. Numerical modelling studies have identified rapid ice sheet thinning in this region as a major contributor to Meltwater Pulse 1A. Despite advances in remote sensing and numerical dating methods, the configuration and chronology of the northwestern sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet have not been reconstructed in detail. The last available studies date back to the 1990s, when field surveys and mapping from aerial imagery were used to reconstruct the glacial history in the Mackenzie Mountains. Cross-cutting relations between glacial landforms and a series of 36Cl cosmogenic nuclide dates were used to propose a deglacial model involving a significant readvance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the region. However, the chronological evidence supporting the readvance is uncertain because the individual ages are few and poorly clustered. Here we present an updated map of the glacial limits during the local Last Glacial Maximum and the recessional record in the Mackenzie Mountains, based on glacial geomorphological mapping from the ArcticDEM. We provide sixteen new 10Be dates from four sites that were previously glaciated by the Laurentide Ice Sheet to constrain the deglacial sequence across the region. These dates indicate ice sheet detachment from the eastern Mackenzie Mountains at ~16 ka as summits in the mountain front became ice-free. The Mackenzie Valley at ~ 65 °N became ice-free at ~ 14 – 13 ka, towards the end of the Bølling-Allerød warm period. Combining these dates with existing 10Be dates, these chronological constraints on the deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet allow us to reinterpret landform relations in the Mackenzie Mountains in order to reconstruct the ice sheet retreat. Our reconstruction provides updated constraints on the LGM extent, and the timing and pattern of deglaciation in the Mackenzie Mountains. This new understanding is useful to future efforts to quantify past sea-level contributions from the western Laurentide Ice Sheet.
How to cite: Stoker, B. J., Margold, M., Froese, D. G., and Gosse, J. C.: The deglacial dynamics of the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets in the Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories, Canada, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7861, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7861, 2021.
Glacier forelands contain valuable information on past glacier dynamics and associated climatic conditions, particularly at small mountain glaciers where responses to climate change are rapid. To maximize the potential of glacial landforms as palaeoclimate indicators, a thorough understanding of the controls on landform genesis and subsequent evolution is required. Traditionally, such landforms have been studied using glacial geological techniques such as sedimentary logging. While these provide valuable in situ information they have numerous limitations, namely poor availability and spatial extent of exposures. Near-surface geophysics provides an efficient and non-invasive means of studying subsurface conditions in numerous sedimentary settings, offering spatially extensive information on substrate material properties and architecture. However, the logistically challenging terrain, remote location and complex structure of proglacial environments has limited the development of geophysical techniques for studying the internal architecture of glacial landforms.
Here, we explore the application of three geophysical methods to investigate proglacial substrates: ground penetrating radar (GPR), seismic refraction and multi-channel analysis of surface waves (MASW). Three sites with contrasting sediment properties were surveyed at the foreland of Midtdalsbreen glacier in southern Norway; (a) a 100 m2 area of glaciotectonised sandy sediments, (b) a ~2 m high lateral moraine ridge containing stratified silts, sands, and gravel and (c) a terminal moraine ridge with a peak crest height of ~5 m and an open blockwork of cobbles and boulders at its surface. At all sites, we deployed 25 MHz and 100 MHz GPR antennas and undertook seismic surveys with 50−75 m long geophone spreads and a sledge-hammer source to sample to target depths of around 10−15 m. Through comparing the results from sites (a) to (c), we assess the capabilities and limitations of each of the aforementioned techniques for proglacial substrate imaging and characterisation, we analyse how their performances vary across these settings and outline factors that contribute to a successful geophysical investigation.
The ease of analysis and achievable investigation depths of the geophysical data and the applicability of seismic interpretation methods varied considerably depending on the surface terrain and structural complexity of the site. Our results show how the combination of GPR and seismic data can assist with the internal characterisation of glacial moraines when a relatively simple subsurface structure is present. However, basic seismic inversions likely lack the sophistication to resolve seismic structure in all but the simplest of layered models. We offer suggestions on how to optimise field time in more complex settings, where more sophisticated seismic inversion algorithms (e.g. tomography) or 3-D GPR surveys could be better-suited.
Our experience should help advance the use of geophysics in proglacial studies. It should serve as a guide for future survey planning, and help avoid typical pitfalls such that field time can be optimised. It is hoped that geophysical survey methods will play an increasing role in the understanding of proglacial sedimentary landforms and their associated palaeoenvironments.
How to cite: Watts, H., Booth, A., Reinardy, B., Killingbeck, S., Jansson, P., Clark, R., and Nesje, A.: Assessing the performance of geophysical survey techniques for characterising the subsurface around glacier margins, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9752, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9752, 2021.
The Kerguelen Archipelago (49°S, 69°E) is an excellent location for the study of multi-millennial glacier fluctuations, since it is the largest still glaciated emerged area (552 km2 in 2001) in the sub-Antarctic sector of the Indian Ocean, where many glacio-geomorphological formations such as moraines may be dated. To investigate the so-far little-known Late Glacial and the Holocene glacier fluctuations in Kerguelen, we apply cosmogenic nuclide dating of moraines in 3 glacial valleys: Val Travers valley, Ampere glacier valley and Arago glacier valley. We use in situ 36Cl dating of the basaltic moraine boulders at the first two sites, and 10Be dating of the quartz-bearing syenite boulders at the third site. The new 36Cl and 10Be exposure ages provide time constraints over the last 17,000 years. A glacial advance was highlighted during the Late Glacial at 14.4 ± 1.4 ka ago, probably linked to the Antarctic Cold Reversal event. These results are consistent with those previously obtained on the archipelago (Jomelli et al., 2017, 2018; Charton et al., 2020) and more generally those from other the sub-Antarctic regions (e.g. Sagredo et al., 2018). This suggests that all glaciers at this latitude were broadly sensitive to this specific climatic signal. No Early nor Mid Holocene advances were evidenced in Kerguelen glacier evolution during the Holocene due to missing moraines that may have formed in these specific periods. Radiocarbon-dated peat, published in the 1990s, provides evidence of less extensive glacier extents during the Early Holocene than during the Late Holocene (Frenot et al., 1997). Finally, glaciers seem to have re-advanced only during the Late Holocene, especially within the last millennium, at ⁓1 ka, ⁓620 years and ⁓390 years (Verfaillie et al., submitted). A comparison of this new dataset with the available 10Be ages from other sub-Antarctic regions allows for the identification of 3 different glacier evolution patterns during the Holocene. The glacial fluctuations experienced by Kerguelen glaciers seems particularly uncommon, and are likely due to its singular location in the Southern Indian Ocean. Finally, climatic factors that may explain the Kerguelen glacier evolution (temperature, precipitation) are discussed. To this end, we investigate the chronology of glacier advance/retreat periods with (i) the variation in atmospheric temperatures recorded in ice cores in Antarctica and (ii) the variation in precipitation (Southern Westerly Winds, Southern Annular Mode).
Charton et al., 2020 : Ant. Sci. 1-13
Frenot et al., 1997 : C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris Life Sciences 320, 567-573
Jomelli et al., 2017 : Quat. Sci. Rev. 162, 128-144
Jomelli et al., 2018 : Quat. Sci. Rev. 183, 110-123
Sagredo et al., 2018 : Quat Sci. Rev. 188, 160-166
Verfaillie et al., submitted
How to cite: Charton, J., Jomelli, V., Schimmelpfennig, I., Verfaillie, D., Favier, V., Delpech, G., Braucher, R., Blard, P.-H., Rinterknecht, V., Chassiot, L., Aumaître, G., Bourlès, D. L., and Keddadouche, K.: New Late Glacial and Holocene 36Cl and 10Be moraine chronologies from sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Archipelago, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9883, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9883, 2021.
Cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al exposure ages from 20 erratic samples collected from Cadair Idris (893 m), a mountain in southern Snowdonia, Wales, provide evidence for the timing of deglaciation from summits to cirques at the end of the Late Pleistocene. The summit of the mountain is characterised by intensely modified frost-shattered surfaces that have long been identified as a representing a former nunatak. Numerous glacially-transported quartz boulders on the highest ground indicate that ice overran the summit at some point in the Pleistocene. Two quartz boulders, one with preserved striations, sampled at c. 856 m near the summit of Cadair Idris yielded consistent 10Be and 26Al paired exposure ages of 75 ka to 60 ka (using a high-latitude sea level 10Be spallation production rate of 4.20 at/g/y, scaled by the Lal/Stone scheme). A glacially polished bedrock quartzite outcrop at 735 m gave an age of 17.5 ka. Immediately below this, cirque and down-valley recessional moraine ages, covering an elevation of 480 m to 350 m ranged from 10 to 15 ka respectively.
These results confirm that Cadair Idris was overridden by the Welsh Ice Cap during marine isotope stage (MIS) 4, when ice was thicker than at the global last glacial maximum (LGM) in MIS 2. This is consistent with findings from northern Snowdonia. The highest Welsh summits, including Cadair Idris, emerged above a thinning Welsh Ice Cap (British Irish Ice Sheet) during the transition from MIS 4 to 3. The summit area above ~800 m then stood as nunataks above the LGM ice sheet surface in MIS 2. The Welsh Ice Cap then rapidly thinned over Cadair Idris at ~20-17 ka based on ages from high-level ice-moulded bedrockThis is supported by more new ages from high-level paired erratics and bedrock samples on several other mountains throughout Snowdonia, leading to a phase of alpine-style deglaciation. Valley glaciers initiated their retreat up-valley from ~17 to 14 ka after Heinrich Event 1. A later phase of glacier stabilisation or still stand formation produced classic cirque moraines near the rim of a present cirque lake basin (480 m elevation) yielding 10Be ages of 13-10 ka during the Younger Dryas.
How to cite: Hughes, P., Glasser, N., Fink, D., Dortch, J., Fülöp, R., Wilcken, K., and Fujioka, T.: The timing of deglaciation from mountain summits to cirques in Wales: 10Be and 26Al exposure dates from Cadair Idris, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10398, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10398, 2021.
Mountain glaciers and their preserved moraine records provide important insights into periods when climate conditions favored glacier advance or stabilization. Comprehensive mapping of moraines in glacier forefields elucidates the spatial distribution of former ice margins. Numerical age dating of moraines, in turn, constrains the timing of moraine formation intervals. A combination of both methods allows reconstructing the evolution of mountain glaciers across time and space and links today’s alpine geomorphology with climate of the past.
Here, we present glacier reconstructions from two adjacent valleys in the northern Silvretta Massif (Austrian Alps). Both, the Jamtal and the Laraintal, exhibit multiple prominent moraine ridges outboard the Little Ice Age (LIA) moraine and inboard presumable Late Glacial ice margins. By applying 10Be surface exposure dating to these moraines, we decipher the response of Silvretta glaciers to the transition from glacial to interglacial climatic conditions.
Pronounced double-ridge structures in lateral and terminal positions outside the LIA moraines were dated and yield landform ages of 11.3 ±0.8 kyrs (n=12) and 10.8 ±0.8 kyrs (n=9). This age pattern is consistent across both valleys and implies two significant moraine formation intervals during the earliest Holocene that overlap within uncertainties. Additional samples (n=6) were collected along presumable LIA ice margins. Four of them indeed produced LIA ages with three of them suggesting a culmination in the second half of the 18th century CE (mean age: 260 ±25 yrs). This result is in good agreement with 10Be ages from a recent study at an adjacent site, which indicate a LIA advance around 260 ±30 yrs. The remaining two ages coincide with a phase of cooler temperatures and increased precipitation in Europe from the 4th to 6th century, a climate episode, which is often associated with the fall of the Roman Empire and with the migration period in Europe.
We interpret the sets of Early Holocene moraines as evidence of brief cold lapses, which punctuated the general warming trend at the beginning of the Holocene, with the Preboreal Oscillation (PBO; c. 11,300 to 11,150 cal BP) being the most prominent one. Moraine formation intervals during the Early Holocene have been reported in the wider Alpine region and at other places in the northern hemisphere (e.g. North America, Scandinavia, Greenland). Annual mean temperatures certainly differed at each of these places, but synchronous phases of glacier advances or stabilization are recorded across the northern hemisphere during the Early Holocene. We suggest that freshwater input into the Atlantic Ocean caused phases of temporary weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which lead to episodes of relative cooling in the northern hemisphere. This cooling phases are preserved in the Early Holocene moraine sets that we mapped and dated in the Silvretta region.
How to cite: Braumann, S. M., Schaefer, J. M., Neuhuber, S. M., and Fiebig, M.: The transition from the Late Glacial to the Early Holocene and its expression in moraine records of the Silvretta Massif, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11494, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-11494, 2021.
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