Skip to main content

Late Quaternary glacial chronology on Nevado Illimani, Bolivia, and the implications for paleoclimatic reconstructions across the Andes

  • Colby A. Smith (a1), Thomas V. Lowell (a1), Lewis A. Owen (a1) and Marc W. Caffee (a2)

10Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure ages from moraines on Nevado Illimani, Cordillera Real, Bolivia suggest that glaciers retreated from moraines during the periods 15.5–13.0 ka, 10.0–8.5 ka, and 3.5–2.0 ka. Late glacial moraines at Illimani are associated with an ELA depression of 400–600 m, which is consistent with other local reconstructions of late glacial ELAs in the Eastern Cordillera of the central Andes. A comparison of late glacial ELAs between the Eastern Cordillera and Western Cordillera indicates a marked change toward flattening of the east-to-west regional ELA gradient. This flattening is consistent with increased precipitation from the Pacific during the late glacial period.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (C.A. Smith).
Hide All
Ammann C., Jenny B., Kammer K., and Messerli B. Late Quaternary glacier response to humidity changes in the arid Andes of Chile (18–29° S). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 172, (2001). 313326.
Arnaud Y., Muller F., Vuille M., and Ribstein P. El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influence on a Sajama volcano glacier (Bolivia) from 1963 to 1998 as seen from Landsat data and aerial photography. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, No. D16 (2001). 17,77317,784.
Baker P.A., Seltzer G.O., Fritz S.C., Dunbar R.B., Grove M.J., Tapia P.M., Cross S.L., Rowe H.D., and Broda J.P. The history of South American tropical precipitation for the past 25,000 yrs. Science 291, (2001). 640643.
Baker P.A., Rigsby C.A., Seltzer G.O., Fritz S.C., Lowenstein T.K., Niklas B.P., and Veliz C. Tropical climate changes at millenial and orbital timescales on the Bolivian Altiplano. Nature 409, (2001). 698701.
Balco G., Stone J.O., Lifton N.A., and Dunai T.J. A complete and easily accessible means of calculating surface exposure ages or erosion rates from 10Be and 26Al measurements. Quaternary Geochronology 8, (2008). 174195.
Benn D.I., Owen L.A., Osmaston H.A., Seltzer G.O., Porter S.C., and Mark B. Reconstruction of equilibrium-line altitudes for tropical and sub-tropical glaciers. Quaternary International 138–139, (2005). 821.
Blard P.H., Lavé J., Farley K.A., Fornari M., Jiménez N., and Ramirez V. Late local glacial maximum in the Central Altiplano triggered by cold and locally-wet conditions during the paleolake Tauca episode (17–15 ka, Heinrich 1). Quaternary Science Reviews 28, (2009). 34143427.
Briner J.P., Kaufman D.S., Manley W.F., Finkel R.C., and Caffee M.W. Cosmogenic exposure dating of late Pleistocene moraine stabilization in Alaska. Geological Society of America Bulletin 117, (2005). 11081120.
Clayton J.D., and Clapperton C.M. Broad synchrony of a Late-glacial glacier advance and the highstand of palaeolake Tauca in the Bolivian Altiplano. Journal of Quaternary Science 12, (1997). 169182.
Dansgaard W. Stable isotopes in precipitation. Tellus 16, (1964). 436468.
Desilets D., and Zreda M. Spatial and temporal distribution of secondary cosmic-ray nucleon intensities and applications to in situ cosmogenic dating. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 206, (2003). 2142.
Desilets D., Zreda M., and Prabu T. Extended scaling factors for in situ cosmogenic nuclides: new measurements at low latitude. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 246, (2006). 265276.
Dunai T.J. Influence of secular variation of the geomagnetic field on production rates of in situ produced cosmogenic nuclides. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 193, (2001). 197212.
Francou B., Ribstein P., Saravia R., and Tiriau E. Monthly balance and water discharge of an inter-tropical glacier: Zongo Glacier, Cordillera Real, Bolivia, 16°S. Journal of Glaciology 42, (1995). 6167.
German Alpine Club Alpenvereinskarte. (1990). Cordillera Real Süd, Illimani.
Gosse J.C., and Phillips F.M. Terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides: theory and application. Quaternary Science Reviews 20, (2001). 14751560.
Hardy D.R., Vuille M., and Bradley R.S. Variability of snow accumulation and isotopic composition on Nevado Sajama, Bolivia. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, NO. D22 (2003). 4693, 2003
Harrison S.D. Snowlines at the last glacial maximum and tropical cooling. Quaternary International 138–138, (2005). 57.
Hastenrath S.L. On the Pleistocene snow-line depression in the arid regions of the South American Andes. Journal of Glaciology 59, (1971). 255267.
Haug G.H., Hughen K.A., Sigman D.M., Peterson L.C., and Röhl U. Southward migration of the intertropical convergence zone through the Holocene. Science 293, (2001). 13041308.
Heusser C.J. Palynology of the last interglacial-glacial cycle in midlatitudes of southern Chile. Quaternary Research 16, (1981). 293321.
Hoffmann G., Ramirez E., Taupin J.D., Francou B., Ribstein P., Delmas R., Durr H., Gallaire R., Simoes J., Schotterer U., Stievenard M., and Werner M. Coherent isotope history of Andean ice cores over the last century. Geophysical Research Letters 30, No. 4 (2003). 1179
Jordan E. Glaciers of Bolivia. Williams R.S., and Ferrigno J.G. Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World: South America. (1999). United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 1386-I, United States Government Printing Office, Washington D.C.
Kaser G., and Osmaston H. Tropical Glaciers. (2002). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 207 pp.
Klein A.G., Seltzer G.O., and Isacks B.L. Modern and last local glacial maximum snowlines in the Central Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and Northern Chile. Quaternary Science Reviews 18, (1999). 6384.
Kull C. Late Pleistocene glaciation in the Central Andes: temperature versus humidity control — a case study from the eastern Bolvian Andes (17°S) and regional synthesis. Global and Planetary Change 60, (2008). 148164.
Kull C., and Grosjean M. Late Pleistocene climate conditions in the north Chilean Andes drawn from a climate-glacier model. Journal of Glaciology 46, (2000). 622632.
Lal D. Cosmic ray labeling of erosion surfaces: in situ nuclide production rates and erosion models. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 104, (1991). 424439.
Licciardi J.M., Schaefer J.M., Taggart J.R., and Lund C.D. Holocene glacier fluctuations in the Peruvian Andes indicate northern climate linkages. Science 325, (2009). 16771679.
Lie Ø., Dahl S.O., and Nesje A. A theoretical approach to glacier equilibrium-line altitudes using meterological data and glacier mass-balance records from southern Norway. Holocene 13, (2003). 365372.
Lifton N.A., Bieber J.W., Clem J.M., Evenson P., Humble J.E., and Pyle R. Addressing solar modulation and long-term uncertainties in scaling secondary cosmic rays for in situ cosmogenic nuclide applications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 239, (2005). 140161.
Maldonado A., Betancourt J.L., Latorre C., and Villagran C. Pollen analyses from a 50,000-yr rodent midden series in the southern Atacama Desert (25° 30′ S). Journal of Quaternary Science 20, (2005). 493507.
Mark B.G., Seltzer G.O., Rodbell D.T., and Goodman A.Y. Rates of deglaciation during the last glaciation and Holocene in the Cordillera Vilcanota–Quelccaya Ice Cap region, southeastern Peru. Quaternary Research 57, (2002). 287298.
Meierding T. Late Pleistocene glacial equilibrium-line altitudes in the Colorado Front Range: a comparison of methods. Quaternary Research 18, (1982). 289310.
Mercer J.H., and Palacios O.M. Radiocarbon dating of the last glaciation in Peru. Geology 5, (1977). 600604.
Phillips F.M., Zreda M.G., Gosse J.C., Klein J., Evenson E.B., Hall R.D., Chadwick O.A., and Sharma P. Cosmogenic 36Cl and 10Be ages of Quaternary glacial and fluvial deposits of the Wind River Range, Wyoming. Geological Society of America Bulletin 109, (1997). 14531463.
Pierrehumbert R.T. Thermostats, radiator fins, and the local runaway greenhouse. Journal of Atmospheric Science 52, (1995). 17841806.
Placzek C., Quade J., and Patchet P.J. Geochronology and stratigraphy of late Pleistocene lake cycles on the southern Bolivian Altiplano: implications for causes of tropical climate change. Geological Society of America Bulletin 118, (2006). 515532.
Porter S.C. Snowline depression in the tropics during the last glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews 20, (2001). 10671091.
Ramirez E., Hoffmann G., Taupin J.D., Francou B., Ribstein P., Caillon N., Ferron F.A., Landais A., Petit J.R., Pouyaud B., Schotterer U., Simoes J.C., and Stievenard P. A new Andean deep ice core from Nevado Illimani (6350), Bolivia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 212, (2003). 337350.
Rodbell D.T. Lichenometric and radiocarbon dating of Holocene glaciation, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Holocene 2, (1990). 1929.
Rowe H.D., Guilderson T.P., Dunbar R.B., Southon J.R., Seltzer G.O., Mucciarone D.A., Fritz S.C., and Baker P.A. Lake Quaternary lake-level changes constrained by radiocarbon and stable isotope studies on sediment cores from Lake Titicaca, South America. Global and Planetary Change 38, (2003). 273290.
Seltzer G.O. Recent glacial history and paleoclimate of the Peruvian–Bolivian Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 9, (1990). 137152.
Seltzer G.O. Late Quaternary glaciation of the Cordillera Real, Bolivia. Journal of Quaternary Science 7, (1992). 8798.
Seltzer G.O. A lacustrine record of late Pleistocene climatic change in the subtropical Andes. Boreas 23, (1994). 105111.
SENAHAMI website:
Smith J.A., Seltzer G.O., Farber D.L., Rodbell D.T., and Finkel R.C. Early local last glacial maximum in the Tropical Andes. Science 308, (2005). 678681.
Smith C.A., Lowell T.V., and Caffee M.W. Late glacial and Holocene cosmogenic surface exposure age glacial chronology and geomorphological evidence for the presence of cold-based glaciers at Nevado Sajama, Bolivia. Journal of Quaternary Science 24, (2009). 360372.
Stone J.O. Air pressure and cosmogenic isotope production. Journal of Geophysical Research 105/B10, (2000). 23,75323,759.
Thompson L.G. Glaciology of the Peruvian Quelccay ice cap. Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica del Peru 63, (1979). 149158.
Thompson L.G., Mosley-Thompson E., Davis M.E., Lin P.N., Henderson K.A., Cole-Dai J., Bolzan J.F., and Liu K.B. Late Glacial Stage and Holocene tropical ice core records from Huascaran, Peru. Science 269, (1995). 4650.
Thompson L.G., Davis M.E., Mosley-Thompson E., Sowers T.A., Henderson K.A., Zagorodnov V.S., Lin P.N., Mikhalenko V.N., Campen R.K., Bolzan J.F., Cole-Dai J., and Francou B. A 25,000-year tropical climate history from Bolivian ice cores. Science 282, (1998). 18581864.
Vuille M., and Ammann C. Regional snowfall patterns in the high, arid Andes. Climatic Change 36, (1997). 413423.
Vuille M., Bradley R.S., Werner M., Healy R., and Keimig F. Modeling ∂18O in precipitation over the tropical Americas: 1. Interannual variability and climatic controls. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, No. D6 (2003). 4174
Wagnon P., Ribstein P., Kaser G., and Berton P. Energy balance and runoff seasonality of a Bolivian glacier. Global and Planetary Change 22, (1999). 4958.
Zech R., May J.H., Kull C., Ilgner J., Kubik P.W., and Veit H. Timing of late Quaternary glaciation in the Andes form 15 to 40 °S. Journal of Quaternary Science 23, (2008). 635647.
Zhou J., and Lau K.M. Does a monsoon climate exist over South America?. Journal of Climate 11, (1998). 10201040.
Zreda M.G., Phillips F.M., and Elmore D. Cosmogenic 36Cl accumulation in unstable landforms 2. Simulations and measurements on eroding moraines. Water Resources Research 30, (1994). 31273136.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 44 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.