Paleoecological constraints on Late Glacial to Holocene ice retreat in the Southern Andes (53°S).

Kilian, R., Schneider, Ch., Koch, J., Fesq-Martin, M., Biester, H., Casassa, G., Arevalo, Marcelo, Wendt, Gunnar, Baeza, O. and Behrmann, Jan Hinrich (2007) Paleoecological constraints on Late Glacial to Holocene ice retreat in the Southern Andes (53°S). Global and Planetary Change, 59 . pp. 49-66. DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.11.034.

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Late Glacial to Holocene ice retreat was investigated along a 120 km long fjord system, reaching from Gran Campo Nevado (GCN) to Seno Skyring in the southernmost Andes (53°S). The aim was to improve the knowledge on regional and global control on glacier recession with special emphasis on latitudinal shifting of the westerlies. The timing of ice retreat was derived from peat and sediment cores, using mineralogical and chemical characteristics, and pollen as proxies. Stratigraphy was based on 14C-AMS ages and tephrochronology. The ice retreat of the Seno Skyring Glacier lobe is marked by an ice rafted debris layer which was formed around 18,300 to 17,500 cal. yr B.P. Subsequently, fast glacier retreat occurred until around 15,000 to 14,000 cal. yr B.P. during which around 84% of Skyring Glacier were lost. This fast recession was probably also triggered by an increase of the Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) from 200 to 300 m. Subsequently, the ice surface was lowered below the ELA in an area that previously made up more than 50% of the accumulation area. Much slower retreat and glacier fluctuations of limited extent in the fjord channel system northeast of GCN occurred between around 14,000 to 11,000 cal. yr B.P. during both the Antarctic Cold Reversal and the Younger Dryas. This slow down of retreat indicates a decline in the general warming trend and/or increased precipitation, due to a southward migration of the westerlies. After around 11,000 cal. yr B.P. pollen distribution shows evolved Magellanic Rainforest and similar climate as at present, which lasted throughout most of the Holocene. Only Late Neoglacial moraine systems were formed in the period 1220–1460 AD, and subsequently in the 1620s AD, and between 1870 and 1910 AD. The results indicate that the Gran Campo Nevado ice cap has reacted more sensitive and partly distinct to climate change, compared to the Patagonian Ice Field.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Andes; deglaciation; palaeo-ecology; glacier balance
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.11.034
ISSN: 0921-8181
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2009 15:00
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 11:23

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