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A combination of relative-numerical dating methods indicates two high Alpine rock glacier activity phases after the glacier advance of the Younger Dryas


Böhlert, R; Compeer, M; Egli, M; Brandova, D; Maisch, M; Kubik, P W; Haeberli, W (2011). A combination of relative-numerical dating methods indicates two high Alpine rock glacier activity phases after the glacier advance of the Younger Dryas. Open Geography Journal, (4):115-130.

Abstract

To exploit the potential of rock glaciers as indicators of past climate condition it is first necessary to date them. The combined application of both relative and absolute dating techniques is a promising approach. In this study, we present Schmidt-hammer rebound value measurements and weathering rind thicknesses on four active and one relict rock glacier in the Albula area of the eastern Swiss Alps. Associated landforms such as the moraines in front of rock glaciers and glacially polished bedrock also were used to set up the temporal framework. This was done using soil chemical analyses, radiocarbon dating of the stable fraction of soil organic matter and surface exposure dating of boulders. Schmidt-hammer and weathering rind measurements showed, in most cases, well-pronounced trends with increasing surface ages. These values are in line with measurements from other nearby rock glaciers with comparable lithologies. Use of this information together with the numeric ages makes it possible to derive two main activity phases: one started soon after the ice retreat following the Younger Dryas, the main activity occurred most likely in the early Holocene and lasted approximately until the Holocene climate optimum. The second activity phase continues today and had an unclear start between 10 to 6 cal ky BP.

To exploit the potential of rock glaciers as indicators of past climate condition it is first necessary to date them. The combined application of both relative and absolute dating techniques is a promising approach. In this study, we present Schmidt-hammer rebound value measurements and weathering rind thicknesses on four active and one relict rock glacier in the Albula area of the eastern Swiss Alps. Associated landforms such as the moraines in front of rock glaciers and glacially polished bedrock also were used to set up the temporal framework. This was done using soil chemical analyses, radiocarbon dating of the stable fraction of soil organic matter and surface exposure dating of boulders. Schmidt-hammer and weathering rind measurements showed, in most cases, well-pronounced trends with increasing surface ages. These values are in line with measurements from other nearby rock glaciers with comparable lithologies. Use of this information together with the numeric ages makes it possible to derive two main activity phases: one started soon after the ice retreat following the Younger Dryas, the main activity occurred most likely in the early Holocene and lasted approximately until the Holocene climate optimum. The second activity phase continues today and had an unclear start between 10 to 6 cal ky BP.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:04 Feb 2011 12:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:37
Publisher:Bentham Open
ISSN:1874-9232
Publisher DOI:10.2174/1874923201104010115
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-42941

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