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A late pleistocene glacial chronology from the Kitschi-Kurumdu Valley, Tien Shan (Kyrgyzstan), based on 10Be surface exposure dating

Abstract

Surface exposure dating has become a helpful tool for establishing numeric glacial chronologies, particularly in arid high-mountain regions where radiocarbon dating is challenging due to limited availability of organic material. This study presents 13 new 10Be surface exposure ages from the Kitschi-Kurumdu Valley in the At Bashi Range, Tien Shan. Three moraines were dated to ~ 15, 21 and > 56 ka, respectively, and corroborate previous findings that glacial extents in the Tien Shan during Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 2 were limited compared to MIS 4. This likely documents increasingly arid conditions in Central Asia during the last glacial cycle. Morphological evidence in the Kitschi-Kurumdu Valley and a detailed review of existing numeric glacial chronologies from the Tien Shan indicate that remnants of the penultimate glaciation (MIS 6) are preserved, whereas evidence for MIS 5 glacier advances remains equivocal. Reviewed and recalculated exposure ages from the Pamir mountains, on the other hand, reveal extensive MIS 5 glacial extents that may indicate increased monsoonal precipitation. The preservation of MIS 3 moraines in the Tien Shan and the southern Pamir does not require any monsoonal influence and can be explained alternatively with increased precipitation via the westerlies.

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E-mail address: godotz@gmx.de.
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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
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