An interglacial polar bear and an early Weichselian glaciation at Poolepynten, western Svalbard

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Abstract

The recent discovery of a subfossil polar bear (Ursus maritimus) jawbone in the Poolepynten coastal cliff sequence, western Svalbard, and its implications for the natural history of the polar bear motivated an effort to better constrain the environmental history and age envelope of the Poolepynten sediment sequence. The focus of the present study is on the lithostratigraphy of the coastal cliffs and on re-dating the sequence using the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating technique. We report a revised lithostratigraphy and nine new OSL ages. It is concluded that the Poolepynten sequence contains evidence of four regional glaciation events, recorded in the strata as erosional unconformities or glacial deposits followed by shallow-marine deposition signifying transgressions and subsequent glacio-isostatic rebound and regression. Our OSL ages refine previous age determinations (14C and IRSL) and support the interpretation that the subfossil polar bear jawbone is probably of last interglacial (Eemian) age.

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  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-543
JournalBoreas
Volume42
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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Helena Alexanderson

2007/04/01 → …

Project: ResearchInternational collaboration, Teaching

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