Late Pleistocene piedmont glaciations in the Eastern Mediterranean; insights from cosmogenic 36Cl dating of hummocky moraines in southern Turkey

Attila Çiner*, Mehmet Akif Sarikaya, Cengiz Yildirim

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We report the presence of Late Pleistocene piedmont glaciers represented by the largest hummocky moraine field observed in the Eastern Mediterranean. The piedmont glaciers originated from the Geyikdağ ice cap (~40km2), situated between 2350 and 2650m above sea level (a.s.l.) (Central Tauride Mountains of Turkey), and deeply carved the north-facing hillslopes before reaching the Namaras Valley (2000-2050m a.s.l). The hummocky moraines resulted from in-situ deposition of stagnant glacier ice where debris cover was heterogeneously distributed on the glacier surface. Thirty-four boulders from hummocky, disintegration, lateral and terminal moraines from the Namaras Valley and the tributary Susam Valley (2100-2200m a.s.l.) were dated by cosmogenic 36Cl surface exposure dating. The moraine ages indicate three phases of deglaciation during the Late Pleistocene. The oldest deglaciation occurred in the Namaras Valley at 18.0±1.1ka (ka: thousand years ago) towards the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and is recorded entirely by hummocky moraines. We speculate that hummocky moraine forming processes with cycles of relief inversion gave rise to boulder apparent ages up to a few thousand years younger in our study area. Therefore, 18.0±1.1ka should be regarded as a minimum age with a probable true age much closer to the local-LGM values (~20ka) as observed in the surrounding mountains. Paleo-piedmont glaciers also deposited several lateral moraines that are ~50m higher than the hummocky moraines. Although the lateral moraines probably represent the build-up and the hummocky moraines the final phase of the same local-LGM-pulse, both lateral moraines started to retreat from the Late-glacial (14.0±2.7ka) and gradually disappeared by mid-Holocene (5.2±1.0ka), encompassing the Younger Dryas (YD) stadial. In the Susam Valley, the Late-glacial is represented by a terminal moraine (13.4±1.5ka). The glacier retreat was very fast as indicated by an almost instantaneous disappearance of 5km long Susam Valley glacier, represented by disintegration and hummocky moraines (14.0±1.3ka). Alternatively, in case the oldest boulder age is taken into account, the Susam Valley glacier can be also attributed to the late LGM (~17ka) to Late-glacial (~14ka) transition. Near the exit of the Susam Valley a right lateral moraine was deposited 11.6±1.3ka ago, confirming the presence of the YD in Geyikdağ. Comparable glacial chronologies were obtained from other Turkish and Mediterranean mountains.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Sayfa (başlangıç-bitiş)44-56
Sayfa sayısı13
DergiQuaternary Science Reviews
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - 5 May 2015

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


This work was supported by TÜBİTAK grant #112Y139 . We are thankful to Lucilla Benedetti at the CNRS-CEREGE, Aix-en Provence, France for her help on AMS measurements. We thank Himmet Haybat, Shreya Aurora, Kevin McClain and Volkan Dede for their help during the field campaigns. AÇ is grateful to Max Deynoux who introduced him to glacial sediments for the first time in Geyikdağ. We also appreciate helpful and very constructive comments by P. L. Gibbard and an anonymous referee and the editor N. Roberts.

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