Relict rock glaciers as indicators of Mediterranean palaeoclimate during the Last Glacial Maximum (Late Würmian) in northwest Greece
Relict rock glaciers have been identified and mapped in the high cirques of Mount Tymphi, in the Pindus mountains of northwest Greece. They are periglacial forms and represent the most recent cold-stage landforms in an area that displays widespread evidence of Pleistocene glaciation. It is likely that these features formed during the Last Glacial Maximum (Late Würmian) as talus rock glaciers, and beneath small cirque glaciers as debris rock glaciers. Comparisons with modern rock glacier-climate relationships suggests mean annual temperatures of ca. 8-9°C lower than present at their time of formation. This temperature reconstruction is in good agreement with recent palaeoclimatic reconstructions for the northern Mediterranean based on a general circulation model. Moreover, as rock glaciers are typical of cold and relatively dry mountain regions, their presence is consistent with palaeobotanical and lake-level data suggesting a cold and relatively dry climate for the Last Glacial Maximum in Greece. However, the presence of small cirque glaciers above some rock glaciers suggests that although precipitation must have been low enough to preclude glacier extension down to lower altitudes, it was not so low as to inhibit glacier formation entirely.