Toward a late Holocene glacial chronology for the eastern Nyainqêntanglha Range, southeastern Tibet

Loibl D, Hochreuther P, Schulte P, Hülle D, Zhu H, Bräuning A, Lehmkuhl F (2015)

Publication Language: English

Publication Status: Published

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2015


Publisher: Elsevier

Book Volume: 107

Pages Range: 243-259


DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.10.034


Monsoonal-affected temperate glaciers in the eastern Nyainqêntanglha Range, southeastern Tibet, are highly sensitive to climate change. Knowledge about their late Holocene dynamics is still, however, widely lacking. The few studies on glacial chronology which are available for this region tend to mainly focus on dating results without sufficiently considering the geomorphological setting, often leading to misinterpretations in this complex high mountain environment. In this study, two selected glacier forelands are investigated using a multi-proxy approach encompassing detailed geomorphological mapping, dendrochronology, sedimentology, and optically stimulated luminescence as well as radiocarbon dating. The starting point was the creation of a consistent morphosequence which was validated by remote sensing of further glacier forelands from the wider region. Similarities and differences between the investigated settings were analyzed in detail to identify the relevant morphological and topoclimatic forcing mechanisms. We found evidence of climatic events affecting the whole region during the Little Ice Age, resulting in similar configurations and numbers of moraines. The geomorphological settings of the glacier forelands are, however, remarkably different, making investigations of the landform and sediment configuration an indispensable condition for their interpretation. Subsequently, constraints from different methods of relative and numerical dating were evaluated critically and included into a conceptual chronosequence if applicable. Our results suggest that the late Holocene maximum glacier advance comprised several successive advances from mid-17th to mid-18th century. None of our observations supports an earlier Neoglacial advance reaching further than the LIA maximum. After the LIA maximum, continued retreat that was only interrupted by short phases of stability followed, as evidenced by 2-3 recessional moraines in the investigated settings.

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Loibl, D., Hochreuther, P., Schulte, P., Hülle, D., Zhu, H., Bräuning, A., & Lehmkuhl, F. (2015). Toward a late Holocene glacial chronology for the eastern Nyainqêntanglha Range, southeastern Tibet. Quaternary Science Reviews, 107, 243-259.


Loibl, David, et al. "Toward a late Holocene glacial chronology for the eastern Nyainqêntanglha Range, southeastern Tibet." Quaternary Science Reviews 107 (2015): 243-259.

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