Relative-age criteria permit deposits of successive Andean glacier advances in the southern Lake District of Chile to be divided into four mappable drift sheets, the oldest two of which overlie Tertiary bedrock along the eastern flank of the Cordillera de la Costa. Only the youngest drift (Llanquihue) is datable by radiocarbon. During the most extensive ice advance of the last glaciation the Lago Llanquihue glacier was about 95 km long and reached an estimated maximum thickness of between 1000 and 1300 m. Glacier equilibrium lines at that time lay about 1000 m below their present level and rose eastward with a gradient of about 5 m/km. Successive ice advances in the Lago Llanquihue basin, which resulted in construction of end moraines and associated outwash plains beyond the lake margin, culminated sometime before about 20,000 yr ago and between 20,000 and 19,000 yr ago. A later readvance, inferred from the sedimentary record of lake-level fluctuations in the basin, had begun by about 15,000 yr ago and culminated shortly after 13,000 yr ago. A comparable, but less-closely dated, record of ice advances is found northwest of Seno Reloncaví and on Isla Chiloé. Deglaciation following the latest advance is likely to have been rapid, for the major glacier lobes fronted on deep water bodies that would have promoted extensive calving.
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