Radiocarbon dated raised beaches and glacial history of the northern coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard

  • Otto Salvigsen
  • Henrik Österholm

Abstract

Raised beaches, glacial erratics, glacial striae and ice marginal features along the north coast of Spitsbergen have been studied. Two series of raised beaches occur in the area bordering the outer part of Woodfjorden. The lower marine limit has an altitude of approximately 40 m and is close to 11,000 years in age. The upper marine limit is at 80 m above sea level and predates 40,000 years B.P. Emergence between 11,000 and 10,000 years ago took place at a rate exceeding 2 m/century, and approximately one-half of the total emergence took place during this interval. Three main directions of glacier ice movement are recorded, and marginal features from the Late Weichselian maximum glaciation occur on both sides of Liefdefjorden. Sediment cores from six shallow lakes on Reinsdyrflya show extremely slow rates of sedimentation and low organic production. The maximum sediment thickness encountered was 143 cm (Lake F, at 35 m above sea level). No radiocarbon dates have been obtained from these lakes. The Younger Dryas (11,000 to 10,000 years B.P.) seems to be a period of deglaciation. The deglaciation on the northern coast of Spitsbergen predates the final deglaciation in a number of other Arctic regions. Mytilus edulis immigrated to the area about 9400 years ago or earlier, indicating a warm early Holocene climate on the north coast of Spitsbergen.

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Published
1982-01-07
How to Cite
Salvigsen, O., & Österholm, H. (1982). Radiocarbon dated raised beaches and glacial history of the northern coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polar Research, 1982(1), 97-115. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v1982i1.7000
Section
Research/review articles

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