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Mountain glaciation and paleoclimate reconstruction in the Picos de Europa (Iberian Peninsula, SW Europe)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2012

Enrique Serrano*
Department of Geography, Universidad de Valladolid, Paseo Prado de la Magdalena s/n, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
Juan José González-Trueba
CIESE-Comillas, Universidad de Cantabria, Comillas, Spain
María González-García
Department of Geography, University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Corresponding author. Email,,


Geomorphic mapping and stratigraphic analysis of a lake core document the late Quaternary glacial history of the Central and Eastern Massifs of the Picos de Europa, northwestern Spain. The distribution of glacial deposits indicates that at their most advanced positions glaciers occupied 9.1 km2, extended as far as 7 km down-valley and had an estimated equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) ranging between 1666 and 1722 m. Radiocarbon dating of sediment deposited in a lake dammed by moraines of this advance show that the maximum glacial extent was prior to 35,280 ± 440 cal yr BP. This advance was followed by two subsequent but less extensive late Pleistocene advances, recorded by multiple moraines flanking both massifs and sedimentary characteristics in the lake deposits. The last recognized glacial episode is the 19th-century maximum extent of small Little Ice Age glaciers in the highest cirques above 2200 m.

University of Washington

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