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Palaeoglaciation of Bayan Har Shan, northeastern Tibetan Plateau: glacial geology indicates maximum extents limited to ice cap and ice field scales
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Quaternary Science, ISSN 0267-8179, E-ISSN 1099-1417, Vol. 24, no 7, 710-727 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Key locations within an extensive area of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, centred on Bayan Har Shan, have been mapped to distinguish glacial from non-glacial deposits. Prior work suggests palaeo-glaciers ranging from valley glaciers and local ice caps in the highest mountains to a regional or even plateau-scale ice sheet. New field data show that glacial deposits are abundant in high mountain areas in association with large-scale glacial landforms. In addition, glacial deposits are present in several locations outside areas with distinct glacial erosional landforms, indicating that the most extensive palaeo-glaciers had little geomorphological impact on the landscape towards their margins. The glacial geological record does indicate extensive maximum glaciation, with local ice caps covering entire elevated mountain areas. However, absence of glacial traces in intervening lower-lying plateau areas suggests that local ice caps did not merge to form a regional ice sheet on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau around Bayan Har Shan. No evidence exists for past ice sheet glaciation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons , 2009. Vol. 24, no 7, 710-727 p.
Keyword [en]
glacial deposits, Tibetan Plateau, Bayan Har, glacial extent, palaeoglaciology
National Category
Physical Geography Geology
Research subject
Physical Geography; Quarternary Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31169DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1305ISI: 000271395000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-31169DiVA: diva2:275694
Note
11 authorsAvailable from: 2009-11-06 Created: 2009-11-06 Last updated: 2010-04-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Palaeoglaciology of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Palaeoglaciology of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study concerns the palaeoglaciation of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, with emphasis on the Bayan Har Shan (Shan = Mountain) in the headwaters of Huang He (Yellow River). To reconstruct past glacier development multiple techniques, including remote sensing, field investigations, cosmogenic exposure dating, and numerical modelling have been employed. Analysis of the large-scale geomorphology indicates that glacial erosion has been dominant in the elevated mountain areas on the low-relief plateau, whereas fluvial erosion outpaces glacial erosion along the plateau margin. Landform and sediment records yield evidence for multiple local glaciations, restricted to the highest mountain areas, and a maximum glaciation beyond the mountain front. Absence of data supporting the former presence of proposed ice sheets, plateau-wide or regional, tentatively indicates that no ice sheet glaciation occurred on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Cosmogenic exposure dating of boulders, surface pebbles, and sediment sections in central Bayan Har Shan indicates that its record of past glaciations predates the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Based on a world-wide analysis, yielding that wide age disparity within apparent exposure age datasets is most likely caused by post-glacial shielding processes, the Bayan Har Shan exposure ages constrain four periods of glaciation with minimum ages of 40-65 ka, 60-100 ka, 95-165 ka, and undetermined oldest stage. Similar to Bayan Har Shan, the plateau-wide distribution of boulders with pre-LGM exposure ages close to present-day glaciers shows that its LGM glaciers were generally not much larger than today. The results of a high resolution glacier model applied to nine regions across the plateau indicates that temperature depressions of 2-4 K are enough to expand glaciers beyond their global LGM extent, implying that during periods of Northern Hemisphere glaciation the Tibetan Plateau was not much colder than today or became exceedingly dry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 2010. 15 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 21
Keyword
Tibetan Plateau, palaeoglaciology
National Category
Physical Geography Geology
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38689 (URN)978-91-7447-074-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-02, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of doctoral defence the following publications were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-04-26 Last updated: 2010-05-13Bibliographically approved

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