A record of the past extents of Quelccaya Ice Cap (QIC) provides valuable information about tropical climate change from late glacial to recent time. Here, we examine the timing and regional significance of fluctuations of QIC during the Little Ice Age (LIA; ~1300-1850 AD). One prominent set of moraines, known as the Huancane I moraines, is located ~1 km from the present-day western ice cap margin and provides a near-continuous outline of the most recent advance of QIC. This moraine set was radiocarbon dated (~298 ± 134 and 831 ± 87 yr BP) by Mercer and Palacios (1977) and presented as some of the first evidence for cooling in the tropics during the Little Ice Age. Recent field investigations in the QIC region focused on refining the chronology of the Huancane I moraines. In 2008, new stratigraphic sections exposed by local lake-flooding events revealed multiple layers of peat within the Huancane I moraines. In both 2008 and 2009, samples were obtained for 10Be dating of boulders on Huancane I moraines. A combination of radiocarbon and 10Be ages indicate that the Huancane I moraines were deposited by ice cap expansion after ~3800 yr BP and likely by multiple advances at approximately 1000, 600, 400, and 200 yr BP. Radiocarbon and 10Be chronologies of the Huancane I moraines are compared with the Quelccaya ice core records (Thompson et al., 1985; 1986; 2006). Accumulation data from the ice core records are interpreted to indicate a significant wet period at ~1500-1700 AD followed by a significant drought at ~1720-1860 AD. We examine ice marginal fluctuations during these times to determine influence of such events on the ice cap extent.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2009
- 1105 GEOCHRONOLOGY / Quaternary geochronology;
- 1150 GEOCHRONOLOGY / Cosmogenic-nuclide exposure dating;
- 4926 PALEOCEANOGRAPHY / Glacial;
- 4932 PALEOCEANOGRAPHY / Ice cores