Mountain-derived versus shelf-based glaciations on the western Taymyr Peninsula, Siberia

  • Christian Hjort
  • Svend Funder


The early Russian researchers working in central Siberia seem to have preferred scenarios in which glaciations, in accordance with the classical glaciological concept, originated in the mountains. However, during the last 30 years or so the interest in the glacial history of the region has concentrated on ice sheets spreading from the Kara Sea shelf. There, they could have originated from ice caps formed on areas that, for eustatic reasons, became dry land during global glacial maximum periods, or from grounded ice shelves. Such ice sheets have been shown to repeatedly inundate much of the Taymyr Peninsula from the north-west. However, work on westernmost Taymyr has now also documented glaciations coming from inland. On at least two occasions, with the latest one dated to the Saale glaciation (marine isotope stage 6 [MIS 6]), warm-based, bedrock-sculpturing glaciers originating in the Byrranga Mountains, and in the hills west of the range, expanded westwards, and at least once did such glaciers, after moving 50–60 km or more over the present land areas, cross today’s Kara Sea coastline. The last major glaciation affecting southwestern Taymyr did, however, come from the Kara Sea shelf. According to optically stimulated luminescence dates, this was during the Early or Middle Weichselian (MIS 5 or 4), and was most probably not later than 70 Kya. South-western Taymyr was not extensively glaciated during the last global glacial maximum ca. 20 Kya, although local cold-based ice caps may have existed.


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How to Cite
Hjort C., & Funder S. (2008). Mountain-derived versus shelf-based glaciations on the western Taymyr Peninsula, Siberia. Polar Research, 27(2), 273-279.

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