Abstract

Hvitland and Svartfjeld peninsulas have been glaciated at least two or three times since the Late Pliocene. The earliest recognized glaciation is constrained by amino acid ratios on in situ pelecypods from marine sediments stratigraphically overlying till in Otto Fiord. High amino acid ratios suggest that the shells may be Pliocene and related to recently discovered Late Pliocene Hvitland beds at White Point. The same samples yielded finite radiocarbon ages in the 30.2–34.8 ka BP range, which cautions against their acceptance. A second, mid Quaternary glaciation is suggested by intermediate amino acid ratios from in situ pelecypods and shell-bearing till covering coastal uplands along Nansen Sound. During the last glaciation the peninsula was covered by coalesced ice caps, with glacial tongues descending tributary valleys and extending into the fiords. Deglaciation of a tributary valley in outer Otto Fiord proceeded before 11.6 ka BP and before 9.1 ka BP in mid Otto Fiord, but major ice margins remained at the coast until 8–8.5 ka BP. Lateral meltwater channels record systematic ice retreat up tributary valleys into the interior of the peninsulas. The highest recognized marine limits are marked by prominent deltas at least 164 m asl on western Hvitland Peninsula. The marine limit declines eastward inside Otto, Jugeborg, and Hare fiords. The highest strandlines could not be dated; however, by ~8.3 ka BP relative sea level stood at 103 m asl.

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