Early-Holocene moraine chronology, Sognefjell area, southern Norway: evidence for multiple glacial and climatic fluctuations within the Erdalen Event (~10.2-9.7 ka)

In southern Norway, early-Holocene climatically induced glacier expansion episodes have been  recognised at ~11.1, 10.5, 10.2, 9.7 and 8.2 ka, but the only convincingly dated, single- or double-ridged  moraines are those associated with the regional Erdalen Event (i.e., ~10.2–9.7 ka). We applied three numerical-age dating techniques to sequences of up to five moraine ridges deposited by the former Sognefjell ice cap and by Styggedalsbreen, a large cirque glacier in the nearby Hurrungane massif. On inner and outer ridges and relict patterned ground proximal to the moraines, six 10Be and eight Schmidt hammer (SHD) surface exposure ages were obtained. Thirteen radiocarbon dates were obtained from stream-bank mire sediments proximal to the Sognefjell moraines. The basal date is similar to those from cores in an adjacent lake indicating disappearance of the Sognefjell ice-cap immediately following the
Erdalen Event. Three of four SHD results, and one of three 10Be surface exposure ages from the Sognefjell moraines support this. At Styggedalsbreen, two of three 10Be surface exposure ages lie between the 8.2 ka (Finse) and Erdalen Event, though 1 σ dating uncertainties only overlap with the former: the third is clearly affected by cosmogenic nuclide inheritance. SHD results also suggest the younger event, but this is attributed to lithological differences between the Schmidt-hammer calibration site and the sampled moraine boulders. Considering the chronological evidence as a whole, supported by equilibrium line altitude (ELA) calculations for Styggedalsbreen, we conclude that the moraines were formed by up to five short but distinct fluctuations of these ice masses during the Erdalen Event. This indicates more complex decadal- to centennial-scale glacier variations and climatic perturbations within the Erdalen Event than previously recognised. The implied exceptional glaciological sensitivity to climate variability is attributed to local topographic factors causing glacial fluctuations in response to relatively small ELA changes.

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