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Pleistocene Evolution of a Scandinavian Plateau Landscape
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Number of Authors: 102018 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, ISSN 2169-9003, E-ISSN 2169-9011, Vol. 123, no 12, p. 3370-3387Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The origins and Pleistocene evolution of plateau landscapes along passive continental margins of the North Atlantic have been debated for more than a century. A key question in this debate concerns whether glacial and periglacial surface processes have substantially eroded plateau areas during late Cenozoic climatic cooling or whether the plateaus have mainly been protected from erosion by cold-based and largely nonerosive ice sheets. Here we investigate the Pleistocene evolution of a prominent plateau landscape in Reinheimen National Park, southern Norway. We estimate erosion rates across the plateau via inverse modeling of 141 new cosmogenic Be-10 and Al-26 measurements in regolith profiles and bedrock. We combine these results with sedimentological analyses of the regolith. In the vicinity of Reinheimen's regolith-covered summits, the combination of uniformly slow erosion (<10m/Myr) and near-parabolic slope geometry suggests long-term equilibrium with the presently active periglacial mass-wasting processes. Outside summit areas, erosion is faster (up to >50m/Myr), possibly due to episodic glacial erosion. Despite some indications of chemical alteration, such as grusic saprolite and small amounts of secondary minerals, the fine regolith comprises low clay/silt ratios and is dominated by primary minerals with no sign of dissolution. Together with our modeled erosion rates, this indicates that the regolith cover formed, and continues to develop, during the cold climate of the Late Pleistocene. Plain Language Summary Plateaus dissected by steep-sided valleys and fjords are common landscape elements within the mountains bordering the North Atlantic. Most of these plateaus have likely experienced millions of years of near-freezing temperatures and were repeatedly covered by ice sheets during recent glacial periods. Yet the imprint of cold-climate erosion processes on the plateau landscape evolution remains poorly understood. Here we investigate the Pleistocene evolution of an extensive Scandinavian plateau landscape in Reinheimen National Park, southern Norway. We measure cosmogenic nuclides within the surficial layers of rock and sediment on the plateau. The concentration of these cosmogenic nuclides reflects the erosion of the plateau landscape and thereby the impact of recent cold-climate surface processes. We find that erosion has influenced the plateaus within the latest glacial cycles. In the vicinity of the highest, sediment-clad summits, the plateau shape is determined by processes related to freezing and thawing of rocks and sediment, while the influence of erosion by glaciers and streams increases further downslope.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 123, no 12, p. 3370-3387
Keywords [en]
Cosmogenic nuclides, in-situ 10Be, 26Al, Mountain plateaus, Regolith weathering, Periglacial processes, Glacial erosion
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165717DOI: 10.1029/2018JF004670ISI: 000455484300013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165717DiVA, id: diva2:1286536
Available from: 2019-02-07 Created: 2019-02-07 Last updated: 2019-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Goodfellow, Bradley W.Pedersen, V. K.Olsen, J.
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