Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Quaternary glaciation of Mount Everest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Lewis A. Owen, Ruth Alison Joyce Robinson, Doug I Benn, Robert C. Finkel, Nicole K. Davis, Chaolu Yi, Jaakko Putkonen, Dewen Li, Andrew S. Murray

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The Quaternary glacial history of the Rongbuk valley on the northern slopes of Mount Everest is examined using field mapping, geomorphic and sedimentological methods, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and Be-10 terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) dating. Six major sets of moraines are present representing significant glacier advances or still-stands. These date to >330 ka (Tingri moraine), >41 ka (Dzakar moraine), 24-27 ka (Jilong moraine), 14-17 ka (Rongbuk moraine), 8-2 ka (Samdupo moraines) and similar to 1.6 ka (Xarlungnama moraine), and each is assigned to a distinct glacial stage named after the moraine. The Samdupo glacial stage is subdivided into Samdupo 1 (6.8-7.7 ka) and Samdupo 11 (similar to 2.4 ka). Comparison with OSL and TCN defined ages on moraines on the southern slopes of Mount Everest in the Khumbu Himal show that glaciations across the Everest massif were broadly synchronous. However, unlike the Khumbu Himal, no early Holocene glacier advance is recognized in the Rongbuk valley. This suggests that the Khumbu Himal may have received increased monsoon precipitation in the early Holocene to help increase positive glacier mass balances, while the Rongbuk valley was too sheltered to receive monsoon moisture during this time and glaciers could not advance. Comparison of equilibrium-line altitude depressions for glacial stages across Mount Everest reveals asymmetric patterns of glacier retreat that likely reflects greater glacier sensitivity to climate change on the northern slopes, possibly due to precipitation starvation. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1433
Number of pages22
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume28
Issue number15-16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

    Research areas

  • EQUILIBRIUM-LINE ALTITUDES, REGENERATIVE-DOSE PROTOCOL, NORTHERN PAKISTAN, LANDSCAPE EVOLUTION, PAST GLACIATIONS, TIBETAN PLATEAU, RONGBUK VALLEY, HUNZA VALLEY, ICE-SHEET, LUMINESCENCE

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Sensitivity of a calving glacier to ice—ocean interactions under climate change: new insights from a 3-D full-Stokes model

    Todd, J., Christoffersen, P., Zwinger, T., Råback, P. & Benn, D. I., 14 Jun 2019, In : Cryosphere. 13, 6, p. 1681-1694 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Automatic detection of calving events from time-lapse imagery at Tunabreen, Svalbard

    Vallot, D., Adinugroho, S., Strand, R., How, P., Pettersson, R., Benn, D. & Hulton, N. R. J., 29 Mar 2019, In : Geoscientific Instrumentation Methods and Data Systems. 8, 1, p. 113-127 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Calving controlled by melt-under-cutting: detailed calving styles revealed through time-lapse observations

    How, P., Schild, K. M., Benn, D. I., Noormets, R., Kirchner, N., Luckman, A., Vallot, D., Hulton, N. R. J. & Borstad, C., 30 Jan 2019, In : Annals of Glaciology. First View, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Physical conditions of fast glacier flow: 3. Seasonally-evolving ice deformation on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    Young, T. J., Christoffersen, P., Doyle, S. H., Nicholls, K. W., Stewart, C. L., Hubbard, B., Hubbard, A., Lok, L. B., Brennan, P., Benn, D. I., Luckman, A. & Bougamont, M., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. 124, 1, p. 245-267 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Multiple Late Holocene surges of a High-Arctic tidewater glacier system in Svalbard

    Lovell, H., Benn, D. I., Lukas, S., Ottesen, D., Luckman, A., Hardiman, M., Barr, L. D., Boston, C. M. & Sevestre, H., 1 Dec 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 201, p. 162-185 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Quaternary Science Reviews (Journal)

    Colin Ballantyne (Member of editorial board)
    2000 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Distribution and ecology of planktic foraminifera in the North Pacific: implications for paleo-reconstructions

    Taylor, B. J., Rae, J. W. B., Gray, W. R., Darling, K., Burke, A., Gersonde, R., Abelmann, A., Maier, E., Esper, O. & Ziveri, P., 1 Jul 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 191, p. 256-274 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Double the dates and go for Bayes — impacts of model choice, dating density and quality on chronologies

    Blaauw, M., Christen, J. A., Bennett, K. D. & Reimer, P. J., 15 May 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 188, p. 58-66 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Multiple Late Holocene surges of a High-Arctic tidewater glacier system in Svalbard

    Lovell, H., Benn, D. I., Lukas, S., Ottesen, D., Luckman, A., Hardiman, M., Barr, L. D., Boston, C. M. & Sevestre, H., 1 Dec 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 201, p. 162-185 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. The MIS 13 interglacial at Ceprano, Italy, in the context of Middle Pleistocene vegetation changes in southern Europe

    Margari, V., Roucoux, K., Magri, D., Manzi, G. & Tzedakis, P. C., 1 Nov 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 199, p. 144-158 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Towards a Middle Pleistocene terrestrial climate reconstruction based on herpetofaunal assemblages from the Iberian Peninsula: state of the art and perspectives

    Blain, H-A., Cruz Silva, J. A., Jiménez Arenas, J. M., Margari, V. & Roucoux, K., 1 Jul 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 191, p. 167-188 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

ID: 5008078