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De-icing landsystem model for the Universidad Glacier (34° S) in the Central Andes of Chile during the past ~660 years


Fernández, Hans; García, Juan-Luis; Nussbaumer, Samuel U; Geiger, Alessa Janine; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Pérez, Francia; Tikhomirov, Dmitry; Christl, Marcus; Egli, Markus (2022). De-icing landsystem model for the Universidad Glacier (34° S) in the Central Andes of Chile during the past ~660 years. Geomorphology, 400:108096.

Abstract

Reconstructing latest Holocene (<1000 years) glacial landscape development in the Central Andes of Chile (30–35° S) is key for understanding the response of the cryosphere during periods of negative glacier mass balance, such as the current one. The excellently preserved glacial landscape produced during the latest ice advance and retreat cycle is of particular interest for examining the detailed response of glaciers to deglaciation. To establish a conceptual model of glacier behavior under warm and dry climatic conditions, we reconstructed and dated the recent glacial history of the Universidad Glacier (34° S) through detailed geomorphological mapping and 10Be cosmogenic surface exposure dating. Our mapping describes a landsystem that spans from the current ice front to ~3 km down-valley, where a mosaic of glacial landforms includes mounded relief; sinkholes; debris-filled stripes; moraine belts; flutings; and a prominent basal till plain. Our 10Be ages suggest that the Universidad Glacier has fluctuated in its forefield since the 13th – 15th centuries CE. We propose that the glacier evolved from a clean glacier to a debris-covered glacier, to an ice-cored moraine, and finally, to a massive dead-ice topography. This deglacial evolution intermittent and potentially reset by multiple standstills and/or re-advances during the overall retreat. The implication is that phases of active ice were followed by stagnation associated with progressive melting of dead ice under the supraglacial debris layer. Similar geomorphic features and processes are recorded in the present-day Universidad Glacier ablation zone, denoting a recurrent reconditioning over time analogous to the glacier's evolution during the latest Holocene.

Abstract

Reconstructing latest Holocene (<1000 years) glacial landscape development in the Central Andes of Chile (30–35° S) is key for understanding the response of the cryosphere during periods of negative glacier mass balance, such as the current one. The excellently preserved glacial landscape produced during the latest ice advance and retreat cycle is of particular interest for examining the detailed response of glaciers to deglaciation. To establish a conceptual model of glacier behavior under warm and dry climatic conditions, we reconstructed and dated the recent glacial history of the Universidad Glacier (34° S) through detailed geomorphological mapping and 10Be cosmogenic surface exposure dating. Our mapping describes a landsystem that spans from the current ice front to ~3 km down-valley, where a mosaic of glacial landforms includes mounded relief; sinkholes; debris-filled stripes; moraine belts; flutings; and a prominent basal till plain. Our 10Be ages suggest that the Universidad Glacier has fluctuated in its forefield since the 13th – 15th centuries CE. We propose that the glacier evolved from a clean glacier to a debris-covered glacier, to an ice-cored moraine, and finally, to a massive dead-ice topography. This deglacial evolution intermittent and potentially reset by multiple standstills and/or re-advances during the overall retreat. The implication is that phases of active ice were followed by stagnation associated with progressive melting of dead ice under the supraglacial debris layer. Similar geomorphic features and processes are recorded in the present-day Universidad Glacier ablation zone, denoting a recurrent reconditioning over time analogous to the glacier's evolution during the latest Holocene.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes
Language:English
Date:1 March 2022
Deposited On:04 Aug 2022 07:41
Last Modified:27 Apr 2024 01:38
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0169-555X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2021.108096