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Glacial Lake Wright, a high-level Antarctic lake during the LGM and early Holocene

  • B.L. Hall (a1) (a2) (a3), G.H. Denton (a1) (a2) and B. Overturf (a2)
Abstract

We report evidence of a large proglacial lake (Glacial Lake Wright) that existed in Wright Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys region of Antarctica at the last glacial maximum (LGM) and in the early Holocene. At its highstands, Glacial Lake Wright would have stretched 50 km and covered c. 210 km2. Chronology for lake-level changes comes from 30 AMS radiocarbon dates of lacustrine algae preserved in deltas, shorelines, and glaciolacustrine deposits that extend up to 480 m above present-day lakes. Emerging evidence suggests that Glacial Lake Wright was only one of a series of large lakes to occupy the McMurdo Dry Valleys and the valleys fronting the Royal Society Range at the LGM. Although the cause of such high lake levels is not well understood, it is believed to relate to cool, dry conditions which produced fewer clouds, less snowfall, and greater amounts of absorbed radiation, leading to increased meltwater production.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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