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Late Holocene glacier reconstruction reveals retreat behind present limits and two-stage Little Ice Age on subantarctic South Georgia
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Number of Authors: 6
2017 (English)In: Journal of Quaternary Science, ISSN 0267-8179, E-ISSN 1099-1417, Vol. 32, no 6, 888-901 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Observational data show that climate in the Southern Ocean region is rapidly changing. However, past the instrumental period, our understanding of climate variability in the region is limited by a scarcity of highresolution palaeoclimate records. Alpine glaciers, present on many Southern Ocean islands, may provide such data because changes in their mass balance, extent and erosion rates often mark a response to climate shifts. Rock flour, the fine-grained fraction of the glacial erosion process, is suspended in meltwater streams and transferred into the sediments of downstream lakes, continuously recording glacier variations. Here, we utilize this relationship to present a reconstruction of the Late Holocene glacier history of subantarctic South Georgia, using sediments from the glacier-fed Middle Hamberg Lake. To fingerprint a glacial erosion/size signal, we used titanium counts, validated against changes in sediment density and grain size, allowing a continuous reconstruction of glacier variations over the past similar to 1250 years. Together with local moraine evidence and supporting evidence from other Southern Hemisphere glaciers on New Zealand and in Patagonia, our findings reveal a series of consecutively diminishing Late Holocene advances. In addition to a glacier maximum before 1250 cal a BP, these include a twostage Litle Ice Age with advances around 300 and 120 cal a BP, in line with evidence from southern Patagonia. In addition, we present evidence for an unreported retreat behind present limits around 500 cal BP.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 32, no 6, 888-901 p.
Keyword [en]
glacier variability, Holocene, lake sediments, South Georgia, Southern Ocean
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147114DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2937ISI: 000409047100016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147114DiVA: diva2:1147889
Available from: 2017-10-09 Created: 2017-10-09 Last updated: 2017-10-09Bibliographically approved

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Rosqvist, Gunhild
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Department of Physical Geography
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