Late Pleistocene glaciations at Lake Donggi Cona, eastern Kunlun Shan (NE Tibet): early maxima and a diminishing trend of glaciation during the last glacial cycle

Rother, H., Stauch, G., Loibl, D., Lehmkuhl, F. and Freeman, S. P.H.T. (2017) Late Pleistocene glaciations at Lake Donggi Cona, eastern Kunlun Shan (NE Tibet): early maxima and a diminishing trend of glaciation during the last glacial cycle. Boreas, 46(3), pp. 503-524. (doi:10.1111/bor.12227)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Abstract

The Burhan Budai Shan in NE Tibet represents a key location for examining the variable influence of the mid-latitude westerly and monsoonal circulations on late Quaternary glaciations in this sector of the Tibetan Plateau. Our study investigates the glacial history of mountains near Lake Donggi Cona (35°17′N, 98°33′E) using field mapping in combination with 10Be surface exposure dating and numerical reconstructions of former glacial equilibrium line altitudes (palaeo-ELA). A set of 23 new exposure ages, collected from moraines in four glacial valleys, ranges from 45 to 190 ka, indicating ice expansion during the early and middle part of the last glacial cycle, and during the penultimate and possibly an earlier Mid-Pleistocene glaciation. Ice advances reaching 12–15 km in length occurred at around 190–180 ka (≥MIS 6), between 140–100 ka (late MIS 6/MIS 5), and 90–65 ka (late MIS 5/early MIS 4), with a maximum ELA depression of 400–500 m below the estimated modern snowline. Exposure ages from the valley headwaters further indicate a small glaciation between c. 60–50 ka (late MIS 4/early MIS 3), which was essentially restricted to the cirque areas. Significantly, we find no evidence for any subsequent glaciation in the area during MIS 2 or the Holocene period. These results indicate a diminishing trend of glaciation in the region since at least MIS 4, and corroborate the case of a ‘missing LGM’ in the more interior parts of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The emerging pattern suggests that the most favourable conditions for glaciation during the Late Pleistocene correspond to periods of relatively moderate cooling combined with an intermediate or rising East Asian monsoon strength.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rother, Dr Henrik and Freeman, Professor Stewart
Authors: Rother, H., Stauch, G., Loibl, D., Lehmkuhl, F., and Freeman, S. P.H.T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Boreas
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0300-9483
ISSN (Online):1502-3885
Published Online:22 February 2017

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record