Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Paleoenvironmental Changes and Glacial Stades of the Last 50,000 Years in the Cordillera Central, Colombia

  • Jean-Claude Thouret (a1), Thomas Van der Hammen (a2), Barry Salomons (a2) and Etienne Juvigné (a3)

Using data from glacial geomorphology, tephra-soil stratigraphy and mineralogy, palynology, and radiocarbon dating, a sequence of glacial and bioclimatic stades and interstades has been identified for the past ca. 50,000 yr in the Ruı́z-Tolima massif, Cordillera Central. Six cold stades separated by warmer interstades occurred before 48,000, between 48,000 and 33,000, between 28,000 and 21,000, from ≥16,000 to ca. 14,000, ca. 13,000–12,400, and ca. 11,000–10,000 yr B.P. Although the radiocarbon ages are minimum-limiting ages obtained from tephra layers on top of tills, the tills are not significantly older because most are bracketed by dated tephra sets in measured stratigraphic sections. Two minor moraine stages likely reflect glacier pauses during cold intervals ca. 7400 yr B.P. and slightly earlier. Finally, glaciers readvanced between the 17th and 19th centuries. In contrast to the glacier cover (ca. 34 km2) on volcanoes of the massif during the last glacial maximum (LGM) the ice cover expanded to 1200 km2 and was still 800 km2 during late-glacial time (LGT). Glacier reconstructions based on the moraines suggest depression of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) by ca. 1100 m during the LGM and 500–600 m during LGT relative to the modern ELA which lies at ca. 5100 m in the Cordillera Central. Glaciers in this region apparently reached their greatest extent when the climate was cold and moist, e.g., during stades corresponding to marine isotope stage 3; glaciers were still expanding during the LGM ca. 28,000–21,000 yr B.P., but they shrank considerably after 21,000 yr B.P. because of greatly reduced precipitation.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W. S. Broecker , (1994). Massive iceberg discharges as triggers for globalclimate change. Nature 372, 421424.

C. M. Clapperton , (1983). The glaciation of the Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 2, 83155.

C. M. Clapperton , (1993b). Glacier readvances in the Andes at 12500–10000 yr BP: Implications for mechanism of Late-glacial climaticchange. Journal of Quaternary Science 8, 197215.

B. P. Flower , and J. P. Kennett , (1990). The Younger Dryas cool episodein the Gulf of Mexico. Paleoceanography 5 (6) , 949961.

D. G. Herd , and C. W. Naeser , (1974). Radiometric evidence for pre-Wisconsin glaciation in the Northern Andes. Geology 2, 603604.

S. J. Johnsen , H. B. Clausen , W. Dansgaard , et al. (1992). Irregularglacial-interstadials recorded in a new Greenland ice core. Nature 359, 311313.

P. Kuhry , (1988). A paleobotanical and palynological study of Holocenepeat from the El Bosque mire, located in a volcanic area of the CordilleraCentral of Colombia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 55, 1972.

J. H. Mercer , (1969). The AllerÖd oscillation: A European anomaly? Arcticand Alpine Research 1, 227234.

K. C. Taylor , G. W. Lamorey , G. A. Doyle , R. B. Alley , P. M. Grootes , P. A. Mayewski , J. W. C. White , and L. K. Barlow , (1993). The flickering switch of late Pleistocene climate change. Nature 361, 432436.

J. C. Thouret , (1990). Effects of the November 13, 1985, eruption on thesnowpack and ice cap of Nevado del Ruiz volcano, Colombia. Journalof Volcanolology and Geothermal Research 41, 177202.

J. C. Thouret , A. Murcia , R. Salinas , and J. M. Cantagrel , (1990). Quater-nary eruptive history of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia. Journal of Volca-nolology and Geothermal Research 41, 225251.

T. Van der Hammen , (1978). Stratigraphy and environments of the UpperQuaternary of the El Abra corridor and rock shelters (Colombia) . Palaeo-geography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 25, 11162.

T. Van der Hammen , J. H. Werner , and H. Dommelen , (1973). Palynologi-cal record of the upheaval of the Northern Andes: A study of the Plioceneand Lower Quaternary of the Colombian Eastern Cordillera and the earlyevolution of its high-andean biota. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 16, 1122.

T. Van der Hammen , J. Barelds , H. de Jong , and A. A. de Veer , (1981). Glacial sequence and environmental history of the Sierra Nevada delCocuy (Colombia) . Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 32, 247340.

B. Van Geel , and T. Van der Hammen , (1973). Upper Quaternary vege-tational and climatic sequence of the Fuquene area (Eastern Cordillera, Colombia) . Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 14, 992.

R. Zahn , (1994). Fast flickers in the tropics. Nature 372, 621622.

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? *


Altmetric attention score

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 53 *
Loading metrics...

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