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Exposure age chronology of the last glaciation in the eastern Pyrenees

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Magali Delmas
Médi-Terra, Université de Perpignan, 52 av. Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan, France UMR CNRS 8591, Université de Paris 7, Case 7001, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris cedex 05, France
Yanni Gunnell*
UMR CNRS 8591, Université de Paris 7, Case 7001, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris cedex 05, France
Régis Braucher
CEREGE, CNRS UMR 6635, BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence cedex 04, France
Marc Calvet
Médi-Terra, Université de Perpignan, 52 av. Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan, France
Didier Bourlès
CEREGE, CNRS UMR 6635, BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence cedex 04, France
*Corresponding author.E-mail (Y. Gunnell).


We present a chronology of ice recession in the eastern Pyrenees based onin situ-produced10Be data obtained from the Têt paleoglacier complex. The sampling strategy is based on the relative chronology provided by a detailed geomorphological map of glacial landforms. Results indicate that the last maximum ice advance occurred late (i.e., during Marine Isotope Stage 2) compared to the chronology currently established for the rest of the Pyrenees. Despite debatable evidence for a glacial readvance during the Oldest Dryas stade, ice-cap melt-out was rapid, residual cirque glaciers having disappeared by the Allerød interstade. This is consistent both with North Atlantic excursions established by the Greenland ice cores and paleoenvironmental data for the region. The rapid response of the east-Pyrenean ice cap to temperature variations is primarily linked to its small size compared to larger Pyrenean ice fields, to the dry Mediterranean climate, and to topography-related nonlinearities in which a small vertical rise in equilibrium line altitude generates a large change in ice mass. Possible sources of age uncertainty are discussed in the context of sampling design for single-nuclide (10Be) dating of landform sequences in formerly glaciated landscapes.

Research Article
University of Washington

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