Abstract

The last glaciation of Fosheim Peninsula is reconstructed on the basis of landform and sediment mapping and associated radiocarbon dates. Ice growth involved the expansion of cirque glaciers and accumulation on upland surfaces that are now ice free. Limited ice buildup, despite lowering of the paleoglaciation level by 700–800 m, is attributed to the hyperaridity of the region during glacial conditions. Marine deposits in formerly submerged basins beyond the ice margins are interpreted to represent (i) sedimentation caused by local ice buildup and marine transgression by 10.6 ka BP, (ii) increased ablation and glacier runoff graphic9.5 ka BP, and (iii) marine regression during the Holocene. Holocene marine limit reaches a maximum elevation of approximately 150 m asl along northern Eureka Sound and Greely Fiord and descends southeastwards to 139–142 m asl near the Sawtooth Mountains. A synchronous marine limit is implied where the last ice limit was inland of the sea. The magnitude and pattern of Holocene emergence cannot be fully explained by the glacioisostatic effects of the small ice load during the last glaciation of the region. Deglaciation of the peninsula was underway by 9.5 ka BP; however, local ice caps may have persisted through the wannest period of the Holocene until 6–5 ka BP. This was likely a function of reduced sea ice conditions and increased moisture availability which benefited low-lying coastal icefields, but had negligible effect on interior highland ice caps.

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