Late Pleistocene glacial history of Jameson Land, central East Greenland, derived from cosmogenic (10)Be and (26)Al exposure dating

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Previous work has presented contrasting views of the last glaciation on Jameson Land, central East Greenland, and still there is debate about whether the area was: (i) ice-free, (ii) covered with a local non-erosive ice cap(s), or (iii) overridden by the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Here, we use cosmogenic exposure ages from erratics to reconcile these contrasting views. A total of 43 erratics resting on weathered sandstone and on sediment-covered surfaces were sampled from four areas on interior Jameson Land; they give (10)Be ages between 10.9 and 269.1 kyr. Eight erratics on weathered sandstone and till-covered surfaces cluster around similar to 70 kyr, whereas (10)Be ages from erratics on glaciofluvial landforms are substantially younger and range between 10.9 and 47.2 kyr. Deflation is thought to be an important process on the sediment-covered surfaces and the youngest exposure ages are suggested to result from exhumation. The older (> 70 kyr) samples have discordant (26)Al and (10)Be data and are interpreted to have been deposited by the Greenland Ice Sheet several glacial cycles ago. The younger exposure ages (<= 70 kyr) are interpreted to represent deposition by the ice sheet during the Late Saalian and by an advance from the local Liverpool Land ice cap in the Early Weichselian. The exposure ages younger than Saalian are explained by periods of shielding by non-erosive ice during the Weichselian glaciation. Our work supports previous studies in that the Saalian Ice Sheet advance was the last to deposit thick sediment sequences and western erratics on interior Jameson Land. However, instead of Jameson Land being ice-free throughout the Weichselian, we document that local ice with limited erosion potential covered and shielded large areas for substantial periods of the last glacial cycle.

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  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-260
JournalBoreas
Volume38
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes