Throughout Earth’s history, there have been few periods, when the climate was sufficiently cold to sustain large volumes of ice to cover the planet’s surface. Glaciers and ice-sheets in polar and mountain regions repeatedly grew during the Quaternary, advancing far into mid-latitudes and adjacent lowlands, respectively. Traces of this glacial activity can be manifested in characteristic deposits, e.g. vast till-covered and outwash plains, and landforms such as moraines and drumlins. At glacial-interglacial timescales, multiple glacial advances tend to overprint landforms and create fragmented terrestrial sedimentary successions. There are inherent challenges to understand the records, e.g. how glacial activity varies and affects landscapes over multiple glacial-interglacial cycles. How did landscapes evolve under glacial influence? What is the impact of early glaciations? How well were different glaciations chronicled? How did climate patterns and gradients affect glaciation? These questions will be addressed in this session.
The abundance of proxy data on timing, extent, and driving mechanisms of the last glacial cycle has significantly improved the understanding of the last c. 100 ka of landscape evolution. However, landscape evolution and trends in topographic preconditioning remain poorly constrained for previous cycles.
Glacial sedimentary records can be investigated through various methods to overcome some of the limitations imposed by the records’ fragmentation. Firstly, discovering and retrieving persistent glacial deposits, for example contained in subglacially formed basins (overdeepened basins, tunnel valleys), extend the accessible sedimentary record. Secondly, modern and ancient analogues help to understand erosion and deposition mechanisms in a glacial environment. Thirdly, relative and absolute chronostratigraphy allow the development of a temporal framework, and reconstructing landscape and environment evolution.
This session aims to stimulate discussions concerning terrestrial glacial records. Contributions may include investigations based on field observations, scientific drilling, geophysical measurements, and/or modelling of modern, Quaternary, and pre-Quaternary glacial settings. Possible topics cover: (a) glacial and interglacial stratigraphic successions, (b) subglacial erosion and deposition, (c) glaciation chronology, and (d) landscape evolution.
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