Rethinking weathering and pedogenesis in alpine periglacial regions: some Scandinavian evidence
C. E. Thorn, R. G. Darmody, J. C. Dixon, 2011. "Rethinking weathering and pedogenesis in alpine periglacial regions: some Scandinavian evidence", Ice-Marginal and Periglacial Processes and Sediments, I. P. Martini, H. M. French, A. PéRez Alberti
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Research in the Arctic and alpine regions of NW Sweden and south-central Norway reveals an active chemical-weathering regime: in Kärkevagge, Swedish Lapland, pyrite weathers to produce an acidic environment with vigorous chemical weathering and active pedogenesis as indicated by locally well-developed Spodosols; in the Jotunheimen Mountains of Norway, soil horizons form slowly but cobbles develop weathering rinds within c. 250 years. Such results indicate that chemical weathering and pedogenesis may be quite advanced in alpine periglacial regions and is just one illustration that such regions may be profitably scrutinized using geomorphological and pedological conceptual frameworks other than the traditional periglacial framework.
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Understanding the sediments deposited by glaciers or other cold-climate processes assumes enhanced significance in the context of current global warming and the predicted melt and retreat of glaciers and ice sheets.
This volume analyses glacial, proglacial and periglacial settings focusing, among others, on sedimentation at termini of tidewater glaciers, on hitherto not-well-understood high-mountain features, and on sediments such as slope and aeolian deposits whose clasts were sourced in glacial and periglacial regions, but have been transported and deposited by azonal processes. Difficulties are thus often encountered in inferring Pleistocene and pre-Pleistocene cold-climate conditions when the sedimentary record lacks many of the specific diagnostic indicators. The main objective of this volume is to establish the validity and limitations of the evidence that can be obtained from widely distributed clastic deposits, in order to achieve reliable palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic reconstructions. At a more general level and on the much longer geological timescale, an understanding of ice-marginal and periglacial environments may better prepare us for the unavoidable reversal towards cooler and perhaps even glacial times in the future.